Early conceptualizations of acculturation described an interpersonal transformation that occurs when cultures come into sustained contact. Social scientists noted complex changes that can take place, including the conversion of values, the blending or separation of cultures, and personality and developmental growth.

Researchers attempted to use the acculturation process to examine the impact of modernization and industrialization on various communities and cultures during the 19th and 20th centuries. In the early part of the 20th century in the United States, acculturation became synonymous with assimilation, the loss of one's original culture and the adoption of a new host culture. This process was used to describe the experiences of immigrants from an array of places (e.g., Europe, China, Japan, and Mexico). The ultimate goal of American acculturation became ...

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