Monday, March 3, 2014
Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology
The discipline of cross-cultural psychology is a means for identifying and comprehending what is similar and different as far as individual’s behavior, thoughts, emotions, and motivations across cultures (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Cross-cultural psychology extends the ability of connecting with other individuals through a vast admiration and knowledge. To have a clear understanding of cross-cultural psychology, one must possess knowledge and a definition of cultural and cross-cultural psychology and examine their relationship. Also, in cross-cultural psychology it is of importance is to understand critical thinking’s role and the methodology of cross-cultural research.
Definitions of Cultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology
To understand cultural psychology, one must understand its definition. Therefore, it pursues discovering consequential links among the psychology of individuals and their culture. This is a systematic relationship between psychological and cultural variables (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Cultural psychology’s key message is that the behavior of humans only has meaning in a sociocultural context where such behavior takes place. Its key focus is studying how, whether, and when individuals have the tendency of internalizing the qualities of his or her culture (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Cultural psychology also takes a stand as for advocating the notion that an individual’s mental processes, which are the result of an individual’s interaction with his or her culture.
Also, to understand cross-cultural psychology, one must understand its definition. Therefore, it critically and comparatively studies the cultural effects on the psychology of humans (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). As a comparative field, cross-cultural psychology achieves any conclusion by a means of comparing two or more cultural groups. Since cross-cultural psychology has a comparative nature, it a necessity of its use of critical thinking and such thinking is inseparable from cross-cultural psychology. From a comparative perspective, cross-cultural psychology delves into examining psychological diversity and the fundamental reasoning behind this diversity (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Also, from a comparative perspective, cross-cultural psychology examines connections among behavior and cultural norms and means of differing and dissimilar influences; such as cultural and social forces toward activities of humans (Shiraev & Levy, 2010).
Examining interactions across cultures is another feature of cross-cultural psychology; therefore, its concern is about cultural groups’ differences and the establishments of psychological universalism, such as what are commonalities of individuals in numerous or possibly every culture. Such universalities could be personalities, patterns of enduring feelings, actions, and thoughts. As for personalities, findings from a global study show that traits such as extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience are commonalities in individuals, in numerous countries (Shiraev & Levy, 2010).
Analysis of Cultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology’s Relationship
The concern and study of both cultural and cross-cultural psychology is how culture affects individuals. Although, cultural psychology places more focus on how culture influences individuals, and cross-cultural psychology critically and comparatively studies the cultural effects on the psychology of individuals (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). While cross-cultural psychology is a means of comparing two or more cultural groups, cultural psychology tries to uncover the systematic relationship between psychological and cultural variables of cultural groups. Cultural psychology places emphasis on studying one culture and cross-cultural psychology take a broader approach as for studying two or more cultures. Cultural and cross-cultural psychologies contribute important knowledge in regards to the behavior of humans. However, they take different approaches in regards to explaining and understanding relationships between individuals’ psychology and culture.
Cultural psychology provides cross-cultural psychology a framework by collecting data from differing cultures, which cross-cultural psychology uses within principles of psychology for testing, studying, and comparing. The relationship between cultural and cross-cultural psychology unveils how interpersonal and individual processes, such as information processing strategies, goals, and cognitions influence culture (Berry, 2004).
The Role of Critical Thinking in Cross-Cultural Psychology
Cross-cultural psychology has a comparative nature; therefore, the necessary use of critical thinking is inseparable from cross-cultural psychology. The use of critical thinking is a requirement when comparing two or more cultures such as with a cross-cultural psychologist. Critical thinking is a necessity when learning and observing and is a critical aspect of cross-cultural psychology. Therefore, cross-cultural psychologist must use critical thinking skills when learning about and observing cultures and individuals of those cultures. Using such critical thinking skills elevates biased perspectives and reduces using biased information when studying cultures. Using critical thinking as an approach in cross-cultural psychology allows a psychologist to avoid any possible pitfalls when one conducts research and evaluates his or her findings (Zentall, 2008). Cultural variables can have an adverse effect on the research performed by psychological researchers in regards to the behavior of humans; therefore, by applying the use of critical thinking one negates biased views of cultural variables (Zentall, 2008).
The Methodology Associated with Cross-Cultural Research
When researchers desire to find what influences the differing aspects of behavior of humans in varying cultures, they seek the use of cross-cultural research for the answers. In doing so, researchers must conduct scientific investigations and choose appropriate methods to find answers. Cross-cultural research has four goals; description, interpretation, prediction, and management (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). After identifying these goals, researchers make the choice of relying on research methodologies, such as quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative research involves using a comparative perspective for measuring the particulars of human behavior, which usually occurs by means of observations. Quantitative research uses measures of central tendency for describing the behavior of humans. Qualitative research usually occurs in a natural environment, whereas a participant carries out normal activities of daily life. Qualitative research seeks explanations for behavior and cognition, which is unobservable.
Cultural psychology pursues discovering the connection between human psychology and culture. Cross-cultural psychology studies cultural effects on the psychology of humans. The relationship between both of these fields of psychology is that both have a role in how the other studies and gains information in regards to human behavior and cultural effects. Critical thinking has an integral role in the investigative processes of cross-cultural psychology as for conducting research. Also, the research conducted in cross-cultural research depends on methodologies, such as quantitative and qualitative research to reframe from biasness in investigative processes.
Shiraev, E., & Levy, D. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.
Berry, J. (2004). The psychological foundations of culture. Canadian Psychology, 45(4), 315-316. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220818428?accountid=458
Triandis, H. C., & Brislin, R. W. (1984). Cross-cultural psychology. American Psychologist, 39(9), 1006-1016. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.39.9.1006
Zentall, T. R. (2008). Critical thinking in psychology. The Psychological Record, 58(1), 156-158. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/212768698?accountid=458