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image: Xiaoming Ma

Culture and Cognition Lab

Xiaoming Ma
Ph.D. Candidate
M.S. 2012, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Phone: (608) 262-1920
Office: Psychology 638

Research Interests:

I have two lines of research interest.

The first one is about cultural differences in emotion experience, emotion belief, emotion regulation, and the consequences of emotions on cognitive functioning. I have found that compared to North Americans, East Asians tend to positive emotions to be less beneficial, particularly in an exam context. As a result, East Asians savor positive emotions less than North Americans when there is an upcoming exam. Preliminary data showed that, positive emotions may have less beneficial effects (or even harmful effects) on test performance for Asians than for Americans.

The second one is about the psychological processes and changes when two cultures meet each other in the same society. From the minority group's perspective (e.g. international students in the U.S.), I analyzed longitudinal dataset to find that overtime, East Asian international students became more like Americans, but their liking towards American culture did not increase (or even slightly decreased). International students who became more like Americans in their self-concept (i.e. more independent, less interdependent) and increased their liking towards American culture had better mental health outcomes. I am working on finding predictors of these changes and hoping to find effective interventions that could help international students to adapt to U.S. culture more easily. From the majority group's perspective (e.g. Caucasian Americans studying in the same class as Asian Americans/Asians), I am conducting studies to explore how different goal contexts would moderate the effects of studying in a diverse classroom on the academic outcomes of Caucasian Americans.


  • Miyamoto, Y., & Ma, X. (2011). Dampening or savoring positive emotions: a dialectical cultural script guides emotion regulation. Emotion, 11(6), 1346-1357.
  • Miyamoto, Y., Ma, X., & Petermann, A. G. (2014). Cultural differences in hedonic emotion regulation after a negative event. Emotion, 14(4), 804-815.
  • Ma, X., Tamir, M., & Miyamoto, Y. Socio-cultural instrumental approach to emotion regulation: culture and the regulation of positive emotions. Emotion, under review.
  • Eisen, C., Ishii, K., Miyamoto, M., Ma, X., & Hitokoto, H. (2016). To accept one's fate or be its master: culture, control, and workplace choice. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:936.
  • Eggen, A., Ma, X., & Miyamoto, Y. (in progress). Becoming like Americans while not liking American culture: East Asian international students' acculturation processes and outcomes.
  • Ma, X., & Hou, Y. (2010). Applications of resilience theory in study on adolescent problem behaviors. Journal of Southwestern University (Social Sciences Edition), 36(4).
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