Cross-Cultural Psychology

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Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology What is culture? Culture is a particular society at a particular time and the knowledge and values shared by that society and psychology is the science of mental life. Therefore, it goes without saying that cultural psychology is the science of mental life in a particular society at a particular time. According to the text “cross-cultural psychology is the critical and comparative study of cultural effects on human psychology and cultural psychology seeks to discover meaningful links between a culture and the psychology of individuals living in this culture (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Because there is a need for understanding of cultural psychology, cultural and cross-cultural psychologies are closely related yet have many differences as well. Cross-cultural psychology is all about the comparisons of societies and due to these comparisons critical thinking plays a critical role. The methods of cross-cultural research are used to assist in the understanding of why cross-cultural psychology is so important to society today and the understanding of it. Cultural vs. Cross-cultural The main implication of the difference between individualism and collectivism concerns the relationship between an individual and a group (Lu and Kao, 2002). ” Cultural psychology deals with a single society and all of the elements that make the society what it is. Cultural psychology studies the factors of culture, society, race, and ethnicity and understands the no culture is strictly homogeneous. Each culture has been researched down to the beginning of the culture including evolution, biology, neurology, motivations, emotions, and cognitive foundations (Berry, 2004). In cross-cultural psychology, the researcher takes these elements of two or more of these cultures and attempts to examine their similarities and differences to determine the fundamentals of a society in general. Cross-cultural psychology studies more of the development of the persons in a society based on their behaviors and the views of these behaviors. In the earliest cross-cultural psychology the development of a person was used as a base model for how that society would later develop. The societies were viewed based on the individuals within them and noticing which behaviors were accepted thus determining the future of the ever-changing culture (Berry, 2004). The biggest difference in cultural and cross-cultural psychologies is cultural psychology distinguishes the relationship between the psychology of individuals and the society they are a part of and cross-cultural psychology defines the differences and similarities as well as defining universal aspects of culture by comparing two or more. Critical Thinking With societies and cultures being compared in cross-cultural psychology, the importance of critical thinking becomes apparent. Critical thinking skills are sophisticated methods of assessing beliefs, opinions, and assertions using science, logic, and reliable information. Some researchers define culture emically as the “blueprint” for human activity and develop their information from the viewpoint of the subjects being studied (Luna and Gupta, 2001). Psychologist must use critical thinking and be sensitive, understanding and respectful of cultural knowledge including specifically: scientific, popular or folk, ideological or value based and legal knowledge (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Researchers must be aware of the differences in comparing cultures and take into account the required changes in methods in gathering data. For example, different cultures speak different languages; therefore the questions asked must be translated. Many times when changing to a different language it is easy to become lost in translation, the researcher must attempt to come as close as possible to the dialog as the original language. There are many guidelines for psychologist in using critical thinking in cross-cultural psychology. “Psychologist must learn to appreciate the range of differences among their clients, it is important to identify and control their own biases to respectfully collaborate with their clients, and (the research) is a lifelong process toward a goal that can never be fully attained (Stuart, 2005). Unfortunately no matter how “unbiased” a researcher or psychologist may claim to be there is always a certain degree of personal input, whether consciously or unconsciously, placed into the end result of any study thus the necessity for critical and sound thinking is paramount. Methodology In order to determine the methodology that is associated with cross-cultural research you must first determine the goals of research. Researchers must describe the two cultures, explain different factors, predict the factors that make each culture successful, and in some cases researchers can determine similar factors as “controls” for comparison. Psychologists must be careful however as to not over generalize the society because it may lead to incorrect controls which are not true to a particular society or culture and therefore be very misleading. Cross-cultural psychologists use all the typical psychological methods of investigation: observation, survey, experiment, content-analysis, psychobiography, meta-analysis, focus-group methods, and other procedures. The methodology can be divided into quantitative and qualitative approaches. Quantitative approaches mainly consider the evaluations of cultures based on their own inside views of their society. The most common type of quantitative method is the statistical method of correlation which examines the relationship between two variables. Qualitative is a less invasive approach in which the society is observed and compared more in a natural setting. When the experiences and priorities of the individuals being researched are weighed into the outcome of the research qualitative is the method of choice (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Conclusion Cultural psychology is the science of mental life in a particular society at a particular time, comparing two or more of these cultures is called cross-cultural psychology. When psychologists begin to research the differences and similarities in society they must first decide the methodology in which they will research. Choosing a quantitative or qualitative method to reach desired information is almost as important as the research itself. After wisely choosing the method in which the data is collected, the psychologists then begin to assess the information gathered. Psychologist must be sensitive, understanding, and respectful of the knowledge they are comparing as to not include or induce research bias by using critical thinking throughout the process of comparison. Cross-cultural psychology relies heavily upon the knowledge and research of cultural psychology. Cultural psychology studies the individual and the impact on behavior and society. With a full knowledge of cultural psychology in two or more cultures a cross-cultural psychology can be formed to compare one society to another. References Berry, J (2004). The Psychological Foundations of Culture. Canadian Psychology, 45(4), 315-316. Retrieved May 3, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 928026951). Luo, L. , & Shu-Fang, K. (2002). Traditional and Modern Characteristics Across the Generations: Similarities and Discrepancies. Journal of Social Psychology, 142(1), 45-59. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database Luna,D & Gupta, S. F. (2001). An integrative framework for cross-cultural consumer behavior. International Marketing Review, 18(1), 45-69. Retrieved May 3, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 115719118). Shiraev, E. B. & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed. ). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon. Stuart, R. (2005). Multiculturalism: Questions, Not Answers. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(5), 576-578. doi:10. 1037/0735
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Cross-Cultural Psychology. (2017, Sep 18). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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