Cross-cultural psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes, including both their variability and invariance, under diverse cultural conditions. Through expanding research methodologies to recognize cultural variance in behavior, language, and meaning it seeks to extend and develop psychology. Since psychology as an academic discipline was developed largely in North America, some psychologists became concerned that constructs accepted as universal were not as invariant as previously assumed, especially since many attempts to replicate notable experiments in other cultures had varying success. Since there are questions as to whether theories dealing with central themes, such as affect, cognition, conceptions of the self, and issues such as psychopathology, anxiety, and depression, may lack external validity when "exported" to other cultural contexts, cross-cultural psychology re-examines them using methodologies designed to factor in cultural differences so as to account for cultural variance. Although some critics have pointed to methodological flaws in cross-cultural psychological research and claim that serious shortcomings in the theoretical and methodological bases used impede rather than help the scientific search for universal principles in psychology, cross-cultural psychologists are turning more to the study of how differences (variance) occur, rather than searching for universals in the style of physics or chemistry.
In 1972 the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) was established. This branch of psychology has continued to expand as there has been an increasing popularity of incorporating culture and diversity into studies.
Cross-cultural psychology is differentiated from cultural psychology, which refers to the branch of psychology that holds that human behavior is significantly influenced by cultural differences, meaning that psychological phenomena can only be compared with each other across cultures to a very limited extent. In contrast, cross-cultural psychology includes a search for possible universals in behavior and mental processes. Cross-cultural psychology "can be thought of as a type research methodology, rather than an entirely separate field within psychology".
- 1 Definitions and early work
- 2 Etic v. emic
- 3 Research and applications
- 4 Future developments
- 5 Further reading
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Definitions and early work
Two definitions of the field include: "the scientific study of human behavior and its transmission, taking into account the ways in which behaviors are shaped and influenced by social and cultural forces" and "the empirical study of members of various cultural groups who have had different experiences that lead to predictable and significant differences in behavior". Culture, as a whole, may also be defined as "the shared way of life of a group of people."
Early work in cross-cultural psychology was suggested in Lazarus and Steinthal's journal Zeitschrift fur Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft [Journal of Folk Psychology and Language Science] which began to be published in 1860. More empirically oriented research was subsequently conducted by Williams H. R. Rivers (1864–1922) who attempted to measure the intelligence and sensory acuity of indigenous people residing in the Torres Straits area, located between Australia and New Guinea.
Etic v. emic
Many other realms of psychology focus on how personal relationships impact human behavior, yet it is critical to take into account the significant power that culture may have on human behavior. The Malinowskian dictum[jargon] focuses on the idea that there is a necessity to understand culture of a society in its own terms instead of the common search of finding a universal law that applies to all human behavior. Very often in cross-cultural psychology psychologists pick one of two approaches to examine from: the etic approach or the emic approach.[dubious ] The etic approach is centered around examining how various cultures are similar. On the other hand, the emic approach examines the differences between cultures.[better source needed] Currently, many psychologists conducting cross-cultural research use what is called a pseudoetic approach. This is actually an emit based approach, developed in a Western culture and is in result based to work as an etic approach.[clarification needed] Consequently, this way of measurement may not produce accurate results due to that fact that the instruments used are focused around American theories[clarification needed] and then translated and applied in other cultures.
Research and applications
Geert Hofstede and the dimensions of culture
Geert Hofstede revolutionized the field doing worldwide research on values for IBM in the 1970s. Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory is not only the springboard for one of the most active research traditions in cross-cultural psychology, it is also cited extensively in the management literature. He found that cultures differ on four dimensions: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity-femininity, and individualism-collectivism. Despite its popularity, Hofstede's work has been seriously questioned by McSweeney (2002). Furthermore, Berry et al. challenge the work of Hofstede, proposing alternative measures to assess individualism and collectivism. Indeed, the individualism-collectivism debate has itself proven to be problematic, with Sinha and Tripathi (1994) arguing that strong individualistic and collectivistic orientations may coexist in the same culture (they discuss India in this connection). (See Sinha and Tripathi).
Counseling and clinical psychology
Cross-cultural clinical psychologists (e.g., Jefferson Fish) and counseling psychologists (e.g., Paul Pedersen) have applied principles of cross-cultural psychology to psychotherapy and counseling. Additionally, the book by Uwe P. Gielen, Juris G. Draguns, and Jefferson M. Fish titled "Principles of Multicultural Counseling and Therapy" contains numerous chapters on the application of culture in counseling. Joan D. Koss-Chioino, Louise Baca, and Luis A. Varrga are all listed in this book (in the chapter titled "Group Therapy with Mexican American and Mexican Adolescents: Focus on Culture) as working with Latinos in their way of therapy that is known to be "culturally sensitive". For example, in their therapy they create a "fourth life space" that allows children/adolescents to reflect on difficulties they may be facing. Furthermore, in the book it was stated that various countries are now starting to incorporate multicultural interventions into their counseling practices. The countries listed included: Malaysia, Kuwait, China, Israel, Australia, and Serbia. Lastly, in the chapter titled "Multiculturalism and School Counseling: Creating Relevant Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Programs" Hardin L. K. Coleman, and Jennifer J. Lindwall propose a way to incorporate cultural components into school counseling programs. Specifically, they emphasize the necessity of the counselor's having multicultural competence and the ability to apply this knowledge when working with others.
Five-factor model of personality
Can the traits defined by American psychologists be generalized across people from different countries? Consequently, cross- cultural psychologists have often questioned how to compare traits across cultures. To examine this question, studies measuring personality factors using trait adjectives from various languages are known as lexical studies. Over time these studies have concluded that Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness factors almost always appear, yet Neuroticism and Openness to Experience sometimes do not. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether these traits are nonexistent in certain cultures or if it is specifically the set of adjectives used. In conclusion, it has been determined that the FFM is a universal structure and can be used within cross-cultural research and research studies in general. However, it is crucial to take note that other cultures may include even more significant traits or expand upon the traits included only in the FFM.
Researchers have often wondered if people across various cultures interpret emotions in similar ways. In the field of cross-cultural psychology Paul Ekman has conducted research examining judgments in facial expression cross-culturally. One of his studies included participants from ten different cultures who were required indicate emotions and the intensity of each emotion. In result, the study showed that there was agreement across cultures as to which emotion was the most intense and the second most intense. These findings provide support to the view that some cross-cultural psychologists hold in which there are universal facial expressions of emotion. Nevertheless, it is also important to note that in the study there were differences in the way in which participants across cultures rated emotion intensity.
Differences in subjective well-being
The term "subjective well-being" is frequently used throughout psychology research and is made up of three main parts: 1) life satisfaction (a cognitive evaluation of one's overall life), 2) the presence of positive emotional experiences, and 3) the absence of negative emotional experiences. Across cultures people may have differing opinions on the "ideal" level of subjective well-being. For example, Brazilians have shown in studies to find positive emotions very desirable while the Chinese did not rate as highly for the desire of positive emotions. Consequently, when comparing subjective well-being cross-culturally it appears important to take into account how the individuals in one culture may rate one aspect differently from individuals from another culture, overall not providing a universal indicator as to how much subjective well-being they experience over a period of time. One important topic is whether individuals from individualist or collectivist countries are happier and rate higher on subjective well-being. Diener, Diener, & Diener, 1995, noted that individualist cultural members are found to be happier than collectivist cultural members. It is also important to note that happier nations may not always be the wealthier nations. While there are strong associations between income and subjective well-being, the "richer=happier" argument is still a topic of hot debate. One factor that may contribute to this debate is that nations that are economically stable may also contain various non-materialistic features such as a more stable democratic government, human rights, etc. that could overall contribute to a higher subjective well-being. Therefore, it has yet to be determined whether a higher subjective well-being is linked to material affluence or by other features that wealthy societies often possess.
Williams and Best (1990) have looked at different societies in terms of prevailing gender stereotypes, gender-linked self-perceptions and gender roles. They both find universal similarities as well as differences between and within more than 30 nations. The Handbook of Cross Cultural Psychology also contains a great review on the topic of Sex, Gender, and Culture. One of the main findings overall was that under the topic of sex and gender pan-cultural similarities were shown to be greater than cultural differences. Furthermore, across cultures in social groups the way in which men and women relate to one another has shown to be similar. Further calls have been made to examine theories of gender development as well as how culture influences behavior of both males and females.
Child and adolescent development
Berry et al. refer to evidence that a number of different dimensions have been found in cross-cultural comparisons of childrearing practices, including differences on the dimensions of obedience training, responsibility training, nurturance training (the degree to which a sibling will care for other siblings or for older people), achievement training, self-reliance, and autonomy; The Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology Volume 2 also contains an extensive chapter (The Cultural Structuring of Child Development by Charles M. Super and Sara Harkness) on cross-cultural influences on child development. In conclusion, it was stated that three recurring topics were shown to consistently come up during the review: "how best to conceptualize variability within and across cultural settings, to characterize activities of the child's mind, and to improve methodological research in culture and development."
The rise of cross-cultural psychology reflects a general process of globalization in the social sciences that seeks to purify specific areas of research which have western biases. In this way, cross-cultural psychology together with international psychology aims to make psychology less ethnocentric in character than it has been in the past. Cross-cultural psychology is now taught at numerous universities located around the world, both as a specific content area as well as a methodological approach designed to broaden the field of psychology.
- Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (JCCP)
- Robert T. Carter (Editor) (2005) Handbook of Racial-cultural Psychology and Counselling. Vols. 1–2 New Jersey:John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-65625-9 (set).
- Pandey, J., Sinha, D., & Bhawal, D. P. S. Asian contributions to cross-cultural psychology. London: Sage.
- Shiraev, E., & Levy, D. (2006). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- Singh, R. & Dutta, S (2010) "Race" and Culture: Tools, Techniques and Trainings. A Manual for Professionals. London: Karnac Systemic Thinking and Practice Series.
Major Reviews of literature in Cross-Cultural Psychology 1. five chapters in the Lindzey and Aronson Handbook of Social Psychology (Whiting 1968 on the methodology of one kind of cross-cultural research, Tajfek 1969 on perception, DeVos and Hippler 1969 on cultural psychology, Inkeles and Levinson 1969 on national character, and Etzioni 1969 on international relations 2. Child (1968) reviewed the culture and personality area in the Borgatta and Lambert Handbook of Personality Theory and Research 3. Honigmann's (1967) book on personality and culture
The following publications on the subject have been made available online on Google Book Search in their entirety or with substantial preview:
- Berry, John W; Poortinga, Ype H; Segall, Marshall H; Dasen, Pierre R (2002), Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications (2nd ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-64617-0, retrieved 24 June 2010
- Berry, John W; Poortinga, Ype H; Pandey, Janak (Editors) (1997), Handbook of Cross-cultural Psychology, Vol 1: Theory and method (2nd ed.), Boston: Allyn and Bacon, ISBN 0-205-16074-3, retrieved 24 June 2010
- Berry, John W; Dasen, Pierre R; Saraswathi, T.S. (Editors) (1997), Handbook of Cross-cultural Psychology, Vol 2: Basic processes and human development (2nd ed.), Boston: Allyn and Bacon, ISBN 0-205-16074-3, retrieved 24 June 2010
- Berry, John W; Segall, Marshall H; Kagitcibasi, Cigdem(Editors) (1997), Handbook of Cross-cultural Psychology, Vol 3: Social behavior and applications (2nd ed.), Boston: Allyn and Bacon, ISBN 0-205-16074-3, retrieved 24 June 2010
Continued list of culture readings online: http://www.wwu.edu/culture/contents_complete.htm
- Ho, D. Y. F., & Wu, M. (2001). Introduction to cross-cultural psychology. In L. L. Adler & U. P. Gielen (Eds.), Cross-cultural topics in psychology (pp. 3–13). Westport, CT: Praeger.
- Gielen, U. P., & Roopnarine, J. L. (Eds.).(2004). Childhood and adolescence: Cross-cultural perspectives and applications. Westport: CT: Praeger.
- Smith, Peter B., Michael Harris Bond, and Cigdem Kagitcibasi. Understanding Social Psychology Across Cultures. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 2006
- Smith, Peter B., and Michael Harris Bond. Social Psychology Across Cultures. 2nd ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1999
- Vijver, Fons van de, and Kwok Leung. Methods and Data Analysis for Cross-Cultural Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997
- Cherry, Kendra. "What is Cross Cultural Psychology". Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- Lonner, W. J. (2000). On the Growth and Continuing Importance of Cross Cultural Psychology. 4 (3). pp. 22–26.
- Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (1992). Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Brislin, Lonner, & Thorndike, 1973 as cited in Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (1992). Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Jahoda, G. (1993). Crossroads between culture and mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Triandis, Harry; Roy S. Malpass and Andrew R. Davidson (1971). Biennial Review of Anthropology 7. pp. 1–84. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- McSweeney (2002). Hofstede's model of national cultural differences and their consequences: A triumph of faith – a failure of analysis. Human Relations, 55(1), 89–118.
- Kim, U., Triandis, H. C., Choi, S. C.,Kağitçibaşi, Ç., & Yoon, G. (Eds.)(1994). Individualism and collectivism: Theory, method, and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Fish, J. M. (1996). Culture and therapy: An integrative approach. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
- Gielen, U. P., Draguns, J. G., & Fish, J. M. (Eds.) (2008). Principles of multicultural counseling and therapy. New York City, NY: Routledge.
- Fish, J. M. (2011). The concept of race and psychotherapy. New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
- Pedersen, P., Draguns J.G., Lonner W., & Trimble J. (2002) Counseling across cultures: Fifth edition, Thousand Oaks, CA, SAGE,
- Pedersen, P. (1999) Hidden messages in culture-centered counseling: A Triad Training Model, Thousand Oaks, Ca.: SAGE.
- McCrae, R. R. "Cross-cultural research on the five-factor model of personality". In W. J. Lonner, D. L. Dinnel, S. A. Hayes, & D. N. Sattler (Eds.) Online Readings in Psychology and Culture (Unit 6, Chapter 1). Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University Bellingham, Washington USA. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Ekman, Paul; Wallace V. Friesen, Maureen O' Sullivan, Anthony Chan, Irene Diacoyanni-Tarlatzis, Karl Heider, Rainer Krause, William Ayhan LeCompte, Tom Pitcairn, Pio E. Ricci-Bitti, Klaus Scherer, Masatoshi Tomita, Athanase Tzavaras (13 March 1987). "Universals and Cultural Differences in the Judgements of Facial Expressions of Emotion". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53 (4): 712–717.
- Suh, E.M & Oishi, S. "Subjective well-being across cultures". In W. J. Lonner, D. L. Dinnel, S., Online Readings in Psychology and Culture A. Hayes, & D. N. Sattler. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- Diener, E.; M. Diener, C. Diener (1995). "Factors predicting subjective well-being of nations". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69: 851–864.
- Williams, J. E., & Best, D. L. (1990). Sex and psyche: Gender and self viewed cross-culturally. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
- Best, D.; J. Williams (1997). "Social Behavior and Applications; Sex, Gender, and Culture". Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology 3: 163–212.
- Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., & Pandey, J. (Eds.).(1997). Handbook of cross-cultural psychology (2nd ed., Vols. 1–3). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (1992). Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Super, Charles M.; Sara Harkness (1997). "Basic Processes and Human Development: The Cultural Structuring of Child Development". The Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology 2: 1–39.
- Triandis, Harry C.; Roy S. Malpass and Andrew R. Davidson (1971). Biennial Review of Anthropology 7. pp. 1–84. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
Cole, M. (1996). Cross-cultural psychology: A once and future discipline. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Laungani, P. (2007). Understanding cross-cultural psychology: Eastern and Western perspectives. London: Sage.
- Learning materials related to Cross-cultural psychology at Wikiversity