Cultural psychology and cross-cultural psychology is no more new, as it has had its momentum picked up for the past few decades. Developmental psychology is something of the same kind and it was a buzzword in between at the turn of the century. The question is how is it possible to study human’s development though we intend to study. Human development is also reflected from the repeated efforts and interests on culture analysis in getting to know the interpretation of signals, code words and gestures.
When it comes to testing, research and analysis in psychology related subjects it is quite difficult to understand the significant relation between the test samples and the findings. As there is never a reliable empirical formula. Cross cultural psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes, including both their variability and invariance, under diverse cultural condition. It’s primary aims are to investigate a) systematic relations between behavioral variables and ethnic-cultural variables, and generalizations of psychological principles.
Cross cultural psychology is the science by virtue of the scientific principles and methods it employs. Cross cultural psychology is not primarily concerned with the comparative study of culture, that si the enduring characteristics that mark a culture apart from other countries. (Leonore Loeb Adler, Uwe P. Gieglen, Florence L. Denmark. Cross cultural topics in psychology – Second edition) “Cross-cultural psychology is the empirical study of members of various culture groups who have had different experience that lead to predictable and significant differences in behavior.
In the majority of such studies, the groups under study speak different languages and are governed by different political units” (British, Lonner, Thorndike, 1973, p. 5 – John W. Berry, Ype H. Pootinga, Marshall H. Segall, Pierre R. Dasen. Cross cultural psychology Research and Applications – Second edition, p. 1) “Cultural Psycology is the study of the culture’s role in the mental life of human beings” (Cole, 1996, p. 1- John W. Berry, Ype H. Pootinga, Marshall H. Segall, Pierre R.
Dasen. Cross cultural psychology Research and Applications – Second edition, p. 1) Cultural psychology is the study to examine ethnic and cultural sources of psychological diversity in emotional, social cognition and human development. (Richard A. Shweder, Maria A. Sullivan. Cultural Psychology: Who needs it? 1993 – Internet edition Cultural psychology is nothing but the practices, customs and beliefs we follow differs from place to place and ethnicity to ethnicity.
It is the study of various cultural practices, customary traditions and beliefs that influence a particular sector of people, who decides to improve their society by improvising the existing practices and trying to reason few satisfactory logic to get convinced with the practices. The degree of variance is sometimes measurable and sometimes not. The most interesting part is to analyze how and to what extent the traditions, customs, practices and beliefs developed in a region based on something are made use in favor of personal purposes.
Whereas cross-cultural psychology is the effort to establish a connection between psychology that is being framed on the basis of the customs and traditions practiced. It simply deals with the different set of experiences and different set of environment which shows a significant influence on the behavior of the person in a place. The cultural psychology stops with the traditions, customs, beliefs and practices in a system whereas cross-cultural psychology is deep about analyzing the effect of these cultural practices in the behavior and thought process of an individual in the system.
For eg, the traditional practice of Sati (burning a woman alive after her husband’s death) was followed in India. Learning the practice and the origin of Sati and analyzing its logic, superstitious beliefs is the cultural psychology. Cross cultural psychology tends to explain why women in India are able to accept the practice and get convinced when it is not possible with the other women in the rest of the world. Critical thinking in the cross cultural psychology
Cross cultural psychology is interesting to deal with, but actually speaking is highly uninteresting when it comes to experiment and research. It is difficult to format a methodology and bring it in practice, even if brought into practice it is not all that easy to interpret the results of the psychological tests and tasks. How can researchers make out the differences between the results obtained for the same tests from different groups though the questions are same and the groups are different based on the brought up and experience.
Is it possible to exhibit a connection between the psychology and the culture with just the interpretation of the results of the tests conducted, and the fact being no one knows to what extent the interpretation falls right. The difference in the thinking may occur due to the difference in the culture influenced thought process, still it is difficult as there is no concrete or empirical formula formulated to decide on it.
There is no assurance that the difference in thought process is because of the cultural difference, as there could also be reasons such as bewildered nature of the question, the puzzling nature of the tests, the mood and ignorance of the people and the literacy rate and understanding power of an individual. It does not stop with cross cultural psychology as developmental psychology also faced the similar kind of problem in formatting the research to get to know the exact demand of the scientists and the researchers from the test samples.
In addition to that few man made minor errors in the research and process leads to an unexpected and unwanted finding and the errors are sometimes left undetected too. The methodology associated with cross cultural research When it comes to methodology of cross cultural psychology, it involves the qualitative methodology to analyze the practices, customs and habits of different cultures, on the other hand it requires quantitative methodology to compare, analyze and juxtapose the difference in psychology of different individuals influenced by the cultures and practices they follow.
Psychological and cultural psychology experiments always require the need of qualitative analysis, as the cross cultural psychology is all about analyzing a huge mass of test sample quantitative analysis also comes into picture, perhaps the problem is sometimes the methods are treated mutually exclusive and the results are not compatible all the time.
In addition to this, there is a report that researchers employ artificial and unfamiliar methods leading to ambiguous results. The issue is research is done based on the questions answered by individuals in a society rather than the collective answer from a society, that makes the major difference and inconvenience. Conclusion Though the subject is interesting, it is poignant to know the investigation methods have not taken the right direction.
Conventional methods and sampling techniques are most desired all the times, perhaps when it comes to bringing out the difference between two cultures and the influence on the thought process of an individual because of the culture, it is advisable not to stop with these conventional techniques, as even previous literature works, media interviews, assumptions can be taken into significant consideration.
Apart from all these standard quantitative techniques should be given the appropriate attention too, the results from the conventional sampling techniques and the standard quantitative techniques can be compared and related. This way a convincing analysis can be expected. Reference: Richard A Shweder. Thinking through cultures – Expeditions in cultural psychology John W. Berry, Ype H. Pootinga, Marshall H. Segall, Pierre R. Dasen .
Cross cultural psychology Research and Applications – Second edition James W. Stigler, Richard A. Shweder, Gilbert Herdt. Cultural Psychology- Essays on comparative human development. Lumei Hui. (2003)Theoretical and Methodological Problems in Cross-Cultural Psychology. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior John W. Berry, Ype H. Pootinga, Marshall H. Segall, Pierre R. Dasen. Cross cultural psychology Research and Applications – Second edition
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