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Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology


									  Cross-Cultural Psychology

        Psychology 3053.001
       Raymond T. Garza, Ph.D.
       Professor of Psychology
             Spring 2010
           M.W. 4:00-5:15
    Cross-Cultural Psychology:
    Introduction and Overview
   How does culture affect human behavior?
   Is psychology relevant in developing
   How do child-rearing practices differ
    across cultures?
   Do multi-cultural work groups perform
    well in organizations?
   Is crossing cultures stressful?
   What methods should you use for
    conducting cross-cultural research?
           Course Objectives
   Examine the role of culture in the
    development and validation of psychological
    theories at the conceptual level.
   Increase awareness and understanding of
    the critical issues in the application of
    psychological theories developed in the
    United States and Western Europe to other
    cultural groups, including ethnic minority
    subgroups in the United States and
Course Objective (continued)
 Examine the cultural appropriateness of
  various research methods and procedures.
 Examine the role of culture in personality and
  social development.
 Review cultural issues in specific content
  areas including human developmental
  processes, inter-group relations and
  communication, leadership and
  organizational behavior, and clinical
  assessment and treatment.
              Overarching Topics

   Defining culture
   Factors that influence culture
   Groups that have cultures
   Contrasting culture, race, personality and
    popular culture
   The psychological contents of culture
   How does culture influence human behaviors
    and mental processes?
   The contribution of the study of culture
                 What is Culture?

   We use “culture” to describe and explain a
    broad range of activities, behaviors, events and
         Descriptive, historical, normative, psychological,
          structural, genetic

         General characteristics, food & clothing, housing
          & technology, economy & transportation,
          individual & family activities, community &
          government, welfare, religion & science, sex &
          life cycle

         As a result, much confusion and ambiguity
   One of the most well-known and quoted often definitions
    was put forth by Kroeber & Kluckholm (1952):

   “Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of
    and for behavior acquired and transmitted by
    symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of
    human groups, including their embodiments of
    artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of
    traditional (i.e., historically derived and selected)
    ideas and especially their attached values; culture
    systems may on one hand be considered as products
    of action, on the other as conditioning elements of
    further action” (p. 181).
Cross-Cultural Research and Psychology

   Most theories in psychology are based on
    studies with American university students

   Do these theories hold true for all people,
    regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, culture,
    class or lifestyle?

   In part, Cross-Cultural Psychology attempts
    to answer this question by studying the
    attitudes and behavior of people from
    differing cultural backgrounds.
Cross-Cultural Research and Psychology

       Elements of cross-cultural psychology

         Research method employed test the cultural
          parameters of psychological knowledge by
          comparing data from participants from more than
          one cultural background.

       Cross-cultural psychology is scientific
        paradigm based on a philosophy of science

       Not topic specific
Cross-Cultural Research and Psychology

   Scientific contribution of Cross-cultural
   Tests limitations of our knowledge
    in psychology by examining
    whether theories are universal or
   Promotes methodological change in
    psychological research by
    examining the impact variations in
    cultural background of the samples
    being studied.
        The Growth of Cross-Cultural
   Cross-cultural psychology has had a
    substantial impact on psychology worldwide,
    especially in the in the past two decade.
   In part, this popularity is due to increased
    awareness of importance of culture and
    increasing frequency of intercultural conflicts.
   Lately there has been a significant increase in
    the number of cross-cultural studies published
    in cross-cultural and culture and psychology
    journals, and increasingly, in top-tier
    mainstream journals.
  Figure 1.1

                          Number of publications                                       Proportion of publications

         1600                                                           0.025






         400                                                            0.000
            1978   1983     1988    1993     1998   2003                     1978   1983    1988     1993     1998   2003

                          Publication year                                                 Publication year
        Where do we Start?
   What are its theoretical underpinnings?

   Is culture real?

   Can it be studied scientifically?

   What role can it play in the overall
    development of the field of psychology?
     Where does culture come from?
Figure 1.2

              Human Nature and Culture


     Needs and                       Culture

      Where does culture come from?

   In order to survive, biological needs (e.g.
    reproduction, eating AND social motives (e.g.
    negotiating complex hierarchies) must be met.

   All humans need to come up with solutions on
    how to adapt to environment to address needs
    and motives – environmental adaptation
    involves culture.
      Where does culture come from?

   These solutions are dependent on context
    (e.g. physical environment, social factors,
    types & sizes of families and communities).
        Where does culture come from?

   Solutions to these challenges require
    manifestations of culture

       Product of interaction between universal
        biological needs, social motives and context

       Solution to the problem of individual’s
        adaptation to their contexts to address their
        social motives and biological needs
     Is culture a uniquely human product?

   Many aspects of human culture are shared
    with other animals

   Therefore culture is NOT uniquely human
         What is unique about human culture?

    Unique human skills
    1)   Language
    2)   Complex social cognition
    3)   Ratchet effect

    As a result, human cultures have three
     characteristics: complexity, differentiation,

    Humans evolved to have human culture
        The difference between society and

   Society is “a system of interrelationships among
       Both humans and non-human animals have society

   Culture embodies meanings and information
    associated with social networks
       Humans give social groups unique meaning
       Non-humans do not have human culture associated
        with social groups
          Factors Influencing Culture

   Ecological Factors
         geography, climate, natural resources

   Social Factors
         population density, affluence, technology,
          government, media, religion

   Biological Factors
         temperament, personality
    A Meta-theoretical Framework
 How can we categorize the various systems and
  variables that make up culture?
1. The Ecology:
  - physical environment, resources, geography.
2. The Subsistence System:
    methods of exploitation of the ecology to
     survive – agriculture, fishing, gathering,
     industrial work.
A Framework…
3. The Socio-cultural System:
      institutions, roles, norms and values as
       they exist outside the individual.
4. The Individual System:
    perception, learning, subjective culture,
       including the perception of elements of
       the cultural system.
5. The Inter-individual System:
    - patterns of social behavior, including child
    rearing methods.
            Groups that have Culture

   Nationality
       Country of origin and each country has own culture
        (as well as subcultures)

   Ethnicity
       Racial, national or cultural origins

   Gender
       Behaviors society/culture deems appropriate for
        men and women
           Groups that have Culture

   Disability
       Some type of physical impairment in senses, limb, or
        other parts of bodies

   Sexual Orientation
       Person with whom one forms sexual relationships

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