The Field of Cross- Cultural PsychologyThe study of the relationships betweencultural context and human behavior.
Human Behavior Overt Behaviors: observable actions and responses Covert Behaviors: thoughts, beliefs, meanings.Most researchers studying behavior acrosscultures argue that differences in behaviorshould be seen as culturally shapedreflections of common psychologicalprocesses.
Cross-Cultural PsychologyWe use this term to describe theoverarching name of the field.More specific terms distinguishorientations within this broaderfield.
Cultural PsychologyResearchers emphasize thatpsychological functioning isessentially different across culturalregions of the world.Different “modes of being” arefound in various cultures.
Indigenous PsychologyResearch methods are more appropriate and relevant tolocal populations than western approachesFocus on the majority world within the context ofpoverty and illiteracyStrives to overcome western biasesIndia, Philippines, Central & West Africa, religiouslydefined regions such as Muslim countries in the MiddleEast.
Research should be Culture InformedHuman behavior cannot exist ina cultural vacuum and allpsychological research has totake this principle into account.
Theoretical Debates: Culture as Internal or ExternalTo what extent should culture beconceptualized as part of theperson and to what extent as a setof conditions outside of theperson?
Culture as Externalmode of subsistence (poverty versusaffluence), the political organization ofsociety, the ecological and socialcontext (institutions &practices), climate, formaleducation, economic practices, contactwith new new society such as migrants
Culture as InternalBeliefsIdeasPhilosophiesAttitudes
Relativism–UniversalismTo what extent arepsychological functions andprocesses common tohumankind and to what extentare they unique to specificcultural groups?
Generalizations: Culture as a SystemModal personality (nationalcharacter): the dominantfeatures of the typical personbelonging to a cultural group orset of personality traitsfrequently found in a society.
Cultural DimensionsOrganization of CulturalDifferences: Do culturaldifferences form patterns thatallow for broad categorizations orare the observed differencesunrelated?
Individualism–Collectivism Interdependent versus Independent selfBroad cultural dimensions may lead to anoversimplified picture.High-level generalizations are difficult tovalidate properly and virtually impossible tofalsify
Inferential DistanceComprehensive and abstract concepts are attractivebecause they explain a wider array of cross-culturaldifferences. Less comprehensive explanations allow morecritical empirical scrutiny & stay closer to the data.Behaviors, customs, practices and conventions are moredescriptive and less inferential than cognitive styles andpersonality traits. They allow for direct observation ofdaily life in a particular culture; the validity of inferencesis most open to unambiguous empirical examination.
Definitions“Cross-cultural research in psychology isthe explicit, systematic comparison ofpsychological variables under differentcultural conditions in order to specify theantecedents and processes that mediate theemergence of behavior differences.” -Eckensberger, 1972*cause and effect relationships between culture and behavior(specifies the antecedents and processes that mediate)
Definition twoCross-cultural psychology is the empiricalstudy of members of various culture groupswho have had different experiences that lead topredictable and significant differences inbehavior. In the majority of such studies, thegroups speak different languages and aregoverned by different political units.*concerns the question of how far behavior should be seen asculture-specific
Definition three“Cross-cultural research is any type ofresearch on human behavior thatcompares behavior of interest acrosstwo or more cultures.” -Matsumoto, 1996*emphasizes that cross-cultural research is culture-comparative research.
Culture-ComparativeRepresented by the first threedefinitions, this approach sees culturalconditions as existing independently ofparticular individuals. These conditions arerelated to differences in behaviorpatterns, without necessarily implying thatthere are differences in underlying functionsand processes.
Definitions four & five“Cultural psychology [is] the study of theculture’s role in the mental life of humanbeings.” -Cole, 1996“Cultural psychology has a distinctivesubject matter that aims to reassess theuniformitarian principle of psychic unityand develop a credible theory ofpsychological pluralism.” -Shweder, 2007
Cultural ApproachRepresented by definitions four and five.In the cultural approach to the field, there isan emphasis on the mutual, interactiverelationship between cultural andbehavioral phenomena.Does it makes sense to consider “culture”and “behavior” as distinct entities?
IndigenousIn the last two definitions, behaviordifferences across cultural groups are takenalso to imply differences in psychologicalfunctions and processes.The last definition postulates the existenceof different psychologies in differentcultures, challenging the concept of the“psychic unity” of humankind.
Ethnocultural GroupsNot included in the five definitionscited is the study of variousethnocultural groups within a singlenation state who interact and changeas they adapt to living together.
Biological VariablesShould biological variables includingdietary habits, nutritional deficienciesand the phylogenetic roots of thehuman capacity to develop culture beincluded in cross-cultural psychology?
Ecological Variables (Berry, 1976)Related to the evolutionary view asculture as human adaptation to theenvironmentEmphasizes factors such as economicactivity(hunting, gathering, farming, etc.) andpopulation density
Best definition of Cross-Cultural PsychologyCross-cultural psychology is the study ofsimilarities and differences in the individualpsychological functioning of variouscultural and ethnocultural groups; ofongoing changes in variables reflecting suchfunctioning; and of the relationships ofpsychological variables withsociocultural, ecological and biologicalvariables.