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Indigenous Psychology: Incorporating “Culture” in Psychology Research


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Executive Summary based on the paper “Indigenous, cultural, and cross-cultural psychology: 
A theoretical, conceptual, and epistemological analysis” ( Uichol Kim, 2000).

Explaining the different perspective in culture-oriented research in psychology.

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Indigenous Psychology: Incorporating “Culture” in Psychology Research

  1. 1. Hangzhou, March 2011 Prof. Dr. Hora Tjitra & Gao Li, Zhejiang University Indigenous  Psychology Incorporating “Culture” in psychology research from the indigenous perspective
  2. 2. The universalist approach It aims to discover abstract, nomothetic, and general laws of human functioning (Koch &Leary, 1985; Shepard 1987). An example of etic approch The contextualist approach Each culture should be understood from its own frame of the reference, including its own ecological, historical, philosophical, and religious context. An example of emic approach Integrationist approach Recognizes the importance of integrating the context and content of psychological knowledge in our research for universals. Research approaches to explain cultural differences Cultural differences
  3. 3. Outline  Research approaches to explain cultural differences  Two types of Indigenization  Analysis of culture  Religion, culture and science ---Confucianism  Three impositions of psychology and the indigenous psychologies approach
  4. 4. Evaluation  Studies    of  Cross-­‐Cultural  Training 4 14  years  in  Germany 7  years  in  China Born  and  grew  up   in  Indonesia Prof.Dr.Hora Tjitra - Cross-cultural and Business Psychology Dipl.-Psych.,Technical University of Braunschweig Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management Dr.Phil.,University of Regensburg Intercultural Psychology and Strategic Management Executive Education,INSEAD HR Management in Asia
  5. 5. Two types of Indigenization Indigenization from without  Transporting psychological theories, concepts, and methods and modifying them to fit the local cultural context  Derived etic approach is an example  External imposition  Accommodative paradigm  Indigenous knowledge is treated as an auxiliary source, not as the primary source of knowledge.  Translate traditional philosophical and religious texts into psychological concepts or theories, and then empirically verify.  The current psychological knowledge can be described as the psychology of psychologists, not the psychology of the lay public. Indigenization from within  A shift in the scientific paradigm, a transformative change in which theories, concepts, and methods are developed from within, using a bottom- up approach.  The indigenous psychologies advocated by Kim and colleagues is an example  Advocate examining knowledge, skills, and beliefs which people have about themselves, and studying these aspects in their natural contexts  The goal is to create a more rigorous, systematic, universal science that can be theoretically and empirically verified, rather than naively assumed.
  6. 6. Analysis of culture  Cultural products ( e.g. music)  Psychological constructs ( e.g. attitudes)  Organized bodies of knowledge ( e.g. language) Culture outsider Participate in the creation and re-creation of these products Culture Insider e.g. burn a piece of cloth vs. a USA flag
  7. 7. Understanding culture from without (1) Traditional psychology: culture was considered to be contextual factor and not included in the research design. The goal of the psychology is to discover objective, abstract, and universal relationships between independent variables and dependent variables. Dependent 1. Response 2. Behavior 3. response Independent 1. Stimulus 2. Culture 3. information Positivistic model of causality Intervening 1. Black Box 2. Subject 3. Central Processing unit
  8. 8. Understanding culture from without (2)  Cross-cultural psychology: culture is treated as a quasi-independent variable and behavior as a dependent variable.  Indigenous psychology: culture is an emergent property of individuals and groups interacting with their and human environment. It’s through culture that we think, feel, behave, and interact with reality.
  9. 9. Understanding a culture from within  The indigenous psychologies approach recognized two types of knowledge: 1. Analytical, semantic, and declarative knowledge 2. Phenomenological, episodic, and procedural knowledge  The indigenous psychologies approach advocates a transaction model of the causality that focus on the generative and proactive aspects. Situation Event Action Performance Agent Meaning Intention Goal Causal Linkage 1 Causal Linkage 2 Transactional model of causality
  10. 10. Religion, culture and science ---Confucianism • Dao constitutes the very essence, basis, and unit of life that perpetuates order, goodness, and righteousness.( Lew,1977) e.g. Xiao Dao • Dao manifests itself in the harmonious opposition of yin and yang, and in humans through te (virtue, goodness, moral excellence).
  11. 11. Confucian developmental stages Ren ( 仁 ) YI ( 义 ) LI ( 礼 ) ZHI (智) XIN (信) Context Character Age 19 9 6 2 Society School Family Self Infant Child Adolescent Adult
  12. 12. Limitations on using Confucianism to explain behavior  Confucianism can be used as a descriptive model, but it should not be used to as an explanatory model. Translate to psychological concepts and then empirically verified.  There are blind spots and biases in all philosophical traditions.  The lay public may not be fully aware of basic Confucian concepts such as ren, yi, li, zhi and xin.  Within a particular culture, there can be competing philosophies and worldviews.
  13. 13. Evaluation  Studies    of  Cross-­‐Cultural  Training 13 International Project References in the Research Areas of Culture Diversity,Talent Development,and Strategic Change 14  years  in  Germany Born  and  grew  up   in  Indonesia 8  years  in  China • Building Global Competence for Asian Leaders • Applying Social Medias (Web 2.0) in Learning & Development. • International Employability:Development of Intercultural Competence of German and Chinese Young Professionals. • Cross-Cultural Learning Behavior: Effectiveness of the Western Technology Transfer and Learning Approaches in China. • Comparative Studies of Chinese-Indonesian Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity. • Dynamic Decision Making in Chinese and Multinational Teams. • Intercultural Perspectives of International Post-Merger Integration in Europe. • Intercultural Synergy in Professional Team. • Complex Problem Solving in Small Groups. • ...
  14. 14. Three impositions of psychology and the indigenous psychologies approach  First, researchers in the field of psychology imposed the natural science model to study human beings.  The second imposition is the assumption of the universality of psychological theories.  Third, expert or professional knowledge have imposed on the lay public.  The indigenous psychologies approach advocates liberation form these external impositions advocates the experience of phenomenon as an insider, for the first time.  The indigenous psychologies approach advocates a linkage of humanities (which focus on human experience ) with social sciences (which focus on analysis and verification).
  15. 15. Thank  You Contact us via … Mail: Follow: twitter@htjitra Website: Zhejiang  University,  Hangzhou  (China) Summary presentation based on the paper “Indigenous, cultural, and cross-cultural psychology: A theoretical, conceptual, and epistemological analysis” ( Uichol Kim, 2000) and our group discussion.