He was educated in Vienna, then subsequently in Paris and London. He studied sociology and psychology at London University before obtaining a lectureship in social psychology at the University of Manchester. In 1952 he took up a post at the University College of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in the Department of Sociology, where he carried out pioneering research into cross-cultural psychology.
In 1963, Gustav Jahoda was invited to set up a new psychology department in the University of Strathclyde, although he continued to make field trips to West Africa. He retired in 1985 but he still retains the post of Emeritus Professor.
He has published works on cross-cultural psychology, socio-cognitive development and history of the social sciences. He has also published more than 200 articles. Jahoda was elected fellow of the British Academy in 1988 and fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1993.
- A History of Social Psychology: From the Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment to the Second World War (2007)
- Images of Savages: Ancient Roots of Modern Prejudice in Western Culture (1999)
- Crossroads Between Culture and Mind: Continuities and Change in Theories of Human Nature (1993)
- Psychology and Anthropology: A Psychological Perspective (1982)
- The Psychology of Superstition (1970)
- White Man: A Study of the Attitudes of Africans to Europeans in Ghana before Independence (1961)
- Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology: Theory and Method by John Widdup Berry, Ype H. Poortinga and Janak Pandey
- "Gustav Jahoda, Early Founder of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Dead at 96". International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- "Gustav Jahoda". HeraldScotland. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- Biography for Gustav Jahoda
- Jahoda, Gustav. Always something new out of Africa. In Bond, M H: Working at the Interface of Cultures: Eighteen Lives in Social Science. Routeledge, 1997, pp. 27-37.
- Jahoda, Gustav, 'Crossing cultures', in Bunn, G C et al. Psychology in Britain: Historical Essays and Personal Reflections. British Psychological Society, 2001, pp. 402-410.
- Jahoda, Andrew; Markova, Ivana (2017). "Gustav Jahoda FRSE, FBA (1920–2016)". The Psychologist. 30 (April): 9. Retrieved 2017-03-10.