Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology
Having culture as a field of psychology makes sense because culture plays a significant role in everyday life. Culture allows someone to define who they are how they survive. Expressions of who one is can be done in many ways, by behavior, appearance, and language. Without culture, one’s human nature would rely on instinct to remain alive. Culture is a product of one’s environment. How important culture is and how culture influences oneself and others will be discussed in this paper. Examining various types of relationships as it pertains to culture and cross cultural psychology will also be deliberated. Critical thinking and the role it plays in cross cultural psychology and the use of scientific method will also be covered.
Definition of Cultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology
There are many avenues when looking at what culture stands for, but for most there is an agreement that culture is passed down from one generation to the next, there is a strong influence of molding one’s behavior, and that culture is learned. One’s environment is based on the culture that he or she is subjected to. Culture influences humans in many ways that is what makes humans human. Culture separates individuals from any other species and affords one the opportunity to use instinct and cultural knowledge to survive. Culture is woven into one’s fabric of daily life, and aids in how one interacts with others. By definition psychology is the study of performance and human behavior, so when tying to define one’s actions, it is imperative that incorporating one’s culture into the equation. The behaviors of a person can be directly related to the environment or various biological factors, but, behavior can not be solely answered by just those two things without examining the social cultural conditions which impact that person’s behavior. Cultural psychology looks for the connection between psychology and one’s culture. By looking at this link the correlation between culture and behavior is recognized. Acknowledging this permits that cognitive operations are the variable in culture and oneself based on the environment that he or she is surrounded by (Segal, Dasen, Berry & Poortinga, 1999).
Culture can bring people together as well as separate others. Cross-cultural psychology is a newer specialty in the field. This field does not just focus on one specific culture when attempting to clarify the actions of someone’s behavior. Rather it views many different cultures that could be affected a person. It is imperative to know not to confuse race, ethnicity and society with culture. They do offer a look at a person’s individualism but it is different than one’s culture. A society consists of people where a culture is a common interest shared by persons with in a group that lead to a given behavior. To understand human behavior, viewing other approaches like sociological, cultural mixtures, integrative approach, eco-cultural and evolutionary all help in understanding how a human’s behavior could fluctuate based on. For example, when looking at the evolutionary approach views the biological factors contributing to the behavior over the eco-cultural approach views the environment (Shiraev & Levy, 2010).
The Relationship between Cultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology
There are two different disciplines, anthropology and philosophy, that overlap in cultural psychology. Then reviewing other disciplines there is a wider viewpoint when researching various actions that others do. The purpose of cultural psychology is to unearth how someone’s culture affects behavior as well as how the connection is generated. Human energy cannot be the only factory determining one’s predisposition. Cultural psychology interprets that one’s mind should not be viewed as separate when explaining behavior. However, cross culture psychology relates to not only history and anthropology but also similarities and differences between histories. Regardless, both disciplines take into account culture so their foundations are close. The difference occurs because cultural psychology is interested in the relationship with culture someone has versus cross-cultural being interested in comparison on cultures (Shiraev & Levy, 2010).
The Role of Critical Thinking in Cross-Cultural Psychology
Using critical thinking the right way, there are many ways that critical thinking that be a benefit. Life can be complex and complicated to understand. Critical thinking provides someone the ability to steer through life with a certainty. This being said, critical thinking is learned, not an inherited trait. Being able to think hypothetically, decrypt puzzles, synchronizing thoughts and communicating all require critical thinking. Using critical thinking means that one asks questions that will ultimately solve problems. If someone is unqualified or unskilled, it is possible they will not develop to full potential. By developing the critical thinking skill, this means that one could grow and learn. The use of language, patience when making important decisions, and ability to organize (Hunter, 2009).
All of those that were mentioned are influences in cross-cultural psychology. Language can lead to discrimination for example. The way words are translated can be confused because of the way that it is understood. Translating word for word could lead to an incorrect translation. Understanding that any language can be translated into other meanings causing traumatization or inspiring depending on the interpretation. The research is another part of cross-cultural psychology that is attached to critical thinking. Research that is conducted without bias, emotion, choosing right from wrong, and accepting validity and reliability of that research is a form of critical thinking. It is normal for there to be comparisons made when linking groups or cultures. Here are a few instances how critical thinking and cross-cultural psychology are intertwined. Without a critical thinking understanding how culture affects behavior could form the wrong impression (Segal, Dasen, Berry & Poortinga, 1999).
Methodology Associated with Cross-Cultural Research
Research is a critical part of cross cultural psychology. Without having research the only information about cross-cultural psychology would be assumptions. Psychologists who focus their studies on cross cultural psychologists are intrigued with the commonalities between cultures. As psychologists explain, foretell and manage various behaviors of those they observe they do so because humans are consumed with the interactions he or she has with others resulting in behaviors. Generating research is done by scientific investigation. Cross cultural psychology research is subdivided into quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative research is done through observation by mode, median and mean. Qualitative research is unconditioned settings or a natural setting. This method is picked when the variables are impossible to gather because the tools are not available. There are two different strategies that are also available to use; the application orientated and comparativist strategy. The data collected by these strategies can be done through systematic or random sampling (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). “Observation (naturalistic and laboratory), survey (direct and indirect), experimental studies (independent and dependent variables), content-analysis, psychobiography, meta-analysis, focus-group method” (Shiraev & Levy, 2010, pp. 35-40) are all available to psychologists who are interested in cross cultural insestigations.
When using cross cultural psychology hindrances could occur. Language could create problems when completing research consequently ensuring correct translation is of the utmost importance. Investigators should be able to decipher a specific method as realistically as possible. Attention should also be paid when associating two phenomena and also avoid biases at all times (Shiraev & Levy, 2010).
Since culture plays a vital role in one’s life, it is critical to recognize that it is what causes one’s behavior. Culture is manmade and appears all of the time without much thought. It is important for one to be a successful psychologist that there is a clear understanding of both cultural and cross cultural psychology and how it effects the individual as well as his or her environment. Because of cultural psychology one can trace the connection between culture and psychology and eventually behavior. Viewing various parallels in cultural psychology can help see the differences as well as similarities between cultures and how it impacts one’s actions. Without it, there will always be a mystery surrounding humanity.
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