Cross cultural psychology is the comparative and critical study of cultural effects on individual psychology. It is basically the study of differences and similarities in human psychological functioning in several cultural and ethnocultural groups. It is also the study of the relationships between biological variables and socio-cultural, ecological and psychological variables; and of ongoing changes in these variables.
Introduction to the Cross-Cultural Psychology
Cross cultural psychology is a comparative field. It is the comparative and critical study of cultural effects on individual psychology. In cross-cultural psychology any study draws its conclusions from at least two samples and the samples from which the psychologists draw their conclusion represent at least two cultural groups. As we know cross-cultural psychology is all about comparisons, and the act of comparison needs a particular set of critical skills, this study is not separable from critical thinking.
Examination in cross-cultural psychological is not just a single observation made by a psychotherapist, researcher, or social worker. Witnessing a clear event cannot cover for systematic comparisons of experience and behavior measured under different cultural conditions. Cross-cultural psychology must depend on contemporary methods of scientific investigation.
How is cross-cultural psychology different from the cultural psychology?
Cross-cultural psychology is different from the cultural psychology. First of all, cultural psychology seeks to find significant links between a culture and the psychology of persons living in this culture. The important message of cultural psychology is that human behavior is significant only when observed in the sociocultural context in which it occurs.
For example, a cultural psychologist may be interested in explaining investigating how basic principles of Islam are embraced into an individual’s consciousness and personality characteristics. In general the major focus of cultural psychology is to study when, whether, and how individuals growing up in a specific culture tend to internalize that culture’s qualities. Cultural psychology prescribed the idea that mental processes are essentially the products of an interaction between individual and the culture.
Goals of Cross Cultural Psychology
There are three goals of cross-cultural Psychology:
Transport and Test Goal
The transport and test goal was presented by Whiting who argued that we do cross-cultural psychology research by utilizing data from “several peoples throughout the world to test hypothesis concerning individual behavior.
This first goal of cross cultural psychology has been called the transport and test goal by Berry and Dasen. Psychologists find out the validity of their findings in other culture setting. They transport their present hypotheses and findings to other cultural settings in order to test their applicability and validity in other (and, eventually, in all) groups of human beings. For instance, we may ask whether it is everywhere true that “practice makes perfect” (performance improves over trials in a study of learning), or that “antisocial behavior is a normal part of adolescence”.
Exploring Other Cultures
While we may be unsuccessful to find the similar results when pursuing the first goal, we could come back simply from our study in the other culture with the conclusion that there were no performance effects in social problems or learning in adolescence. Although, this second goal of cross cultural psychology makes it clear that we should go afar such a failure to generalize or replicate, and find out the reasons for failure, or seek alternative ways.
Formation of the Universal Psychology
This third goal of cross-cultural psychology is important because of the clear possibility that, in pursuing our first goal, we will find limits to the validity of our existing psychological knowledge, and that in pursuing our second goal, we will find some novel psychological phenomena that require to be taken into account in a more common psychological theory.
Cross cultural psychology is the study that involves comparisons. It is the study of differences and similarities in human psychological functioning in several cultural and ethnocultural groups. Examinations in cross cultural psychology are not made on the basis of single observation. Its first goal of has been called the transport and test goal, psychologists find out the validity of their findings in other culture setting. In second goal psychologists find out the reasons of failure of their findings. In third goal psychologists make a universal psychology.
Different Approaches On Cross Cultural Psychology
Cross-cultural psychologists utilize various approaches to examine human activities in several cultural settings. Let us now consider several of them.
Evolutionary Approach is a theoretical model that search the ways in which evolutionary end factors affect individual behavior and thus lay a natural foundation for individual culture. This theoretical model claims that common biological laws of behavior are accurately suited as a basic explanation of individual behavior. Culture is just a form of existence that provides for basic individual needs and subsequent goals. According to the evolutionary approach, the main goal of human beings is survival.
This is a common view of individual behavior that focuses on wide social structures that impact society as a whole, and eventually its individuals. Various prominent sociological theories have had a extreme influence on scientific and comparative understanding of individual behavior in cultural contexts. Overall, these theories demonstrate that society exists objectively, aside from individual experience. Specific social forces shape the behavior of huge social groups, and human beings develop and adapt their individual responses in accordance to the demands and pressures of huge social groups and institutions. Thus culture is both a product of human activity and its main forming factor.
The structural-functional approach views society as a interconnected or complex system. Consider the human body as an instance, where all of our organs, limbs, and other parts all have their own individual functions but also work together to form a complete functioning system. Structural-functional theory presents that culture functions as the structure in society that exists to meet human requirements.
The social-conflict approach given by Karl Marx presents that cultural characteristics always benefit some individuals of a society more than others. This approach is all about the inequality and presents that laws and norms that are formed as part of a culture reflect the interests of the most powerful persons of society.
Observations in Cross cultural Psychology
There are some observations in cross cultural psychology and these are following:
If you are observing people’s behavior in their natural environments (for example, on the streets of Lahore and Bombay) with little or no personal interference, this observation is called naturalistic observation. Identifiable and measurable variables should be used in a scientific, cross-cultural observation. An instance of cross-cultural observation could be a study of different walking patterns in various countries in which the researcher had no influence on how fast the individuals walked on the street. Spontaneous observation is biased most of the time, and the observer’s attitudes can have an influence on the results of observation.
In the laboratory observation, the participants are brought in, and you—as a psychologist— design particular situations or prepare a set of stimuli and then ask the subjects to respond. The utilization of this method needs the researcher to display two important characteristics: patience and skepticism. One question should be asked persistently: “Did I observe everything about the studied problem, or is there anything else hidden from me?”
In cross-cultural Surveys are, the most general technique of data collection. In a general survey, the researcher asks the participant to express an opinion regarding a specific topic, issue, or issues. survey could be open-ended and, more generally, multiple-choice questions. Open-ended questions give participants some freedom to express themselves, to describe many shades of their feelings and thoughts. Although, such answers are not easy to interpret quantitatively. Moreover, some participants—small children or people with little language competency or those who are afraid to give away information about themselves—have some problem articulating their ideas. Multiple-choice questions, however easier to analyze, also limit the choice of an answer for the respondent.
In experimental studies you put randomly assigned participants in specific experimental conditions. By changing these conditions, you try to detect particular changes in the subjects’ attitudes, behaviors, emotions, and so on. In an experiment, the condition(s) that are controlled, that is, can be changed by researcher, are called the independent variable(s). The aspect of human activity that is studied and expected to change under impact of the independent variable is called the dependent variable. As an experimenter, you control the independent variable: you alter the conditions of the experiment.
Focus-group methodology is used extremely both in marketing and academic research. The principal benefit of this method is the opportunity to analyze gender, social, and ethnic discourse on some issues in depth: for instance, whether a specific fashion product would have any success among a particular ethnic group or whether a psychotherapeutic procedure would be “working” for various cultural groups. The most general use of this method is a procedure in which a group responds to certain social, political, or marketing messages. The general focus group contains 7–10 participants. Based on the goal of particularly research, the group could be either heterogeneous or homogeneous (ethnically, nationally, professionally, etc.)
Evolutionary Approach search the ways in which evolutionary end factors affect individual behavior. Sociological approach focuses on wide social structures that impact society as a whole. The structural-functional approach views society as a interconnected or complex system. The social-conflict approach presents that cultural characteristics always benefit some individuals of a society more than others. There are also some important observations in cross cultural psychology.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions:
What does cross cultural psychology focus on?
Cross-cultural psychology is defined as the study of differences and similarities in behavior among human beings who have developed in different cultures. The search for relationships between cultural context and person behavior is carried out within three general frames of reference.
Why do we study cross cultural psychology?
Cross-cultural psychology is basically a branch of psychology that looks at how cultural factors impact human behavior. Cross-cultural psychology is also rising as an increasingly essential topic as researchers strive to comprehend both the differences and similarities among people of several cultures throughout the world.
Why is cross cultural important?
Cross-cultural communication has become tactically essential to companies due to the growth of global technology, business, and the Internet. This kind of communication includes an understanding of how people from different cultures communicate, speak, and perceive the world around them.
Why are personality psychologists interested in cross cultural differences?
Psychologists are fascinated in cross-cultural differences for three good reasons. Understanding cultural differences is necessary for increasing international understanding for assessing the degree to which psychology applies to people around the world for appreciating the possible varieties of human experience.
Cross cultural psychology is the study of differences and similarities in human psychological functioning in several cultural and ethnocultural groups. It is the study that involves comparisons .It is also the study of the relationships between biological variables and socio-cultural, ecological and psychological variables; and of ongoing changes in these variables. Examinations in cross cultural psychology are not made on the basis of single observation. Its first goal has been called the transport and test goal, psychologists find out the validity of their findings in other culture setting. If the findings of researcher in other setting are not valid then in second goal researcher find out the reasons of failure of their findings. In third goal researcher make a universal psychology.
Evolutionary Approach search the ways in which evolutionary end factors affect individual behavior. Sociological approach focuses on wide social structures that impact society as a whole. The structural-functional approach views society as a interconnected or complex system. The social-conflict approach presents that cultural characteristics always benefit some individuals of a society more than others. There are also some important observations in cross cultural psychology and these are: