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Answer the following questions in *70 words minimum for EACH* and include a reference in each answer. The answer can be typed right under the question, and references listed below. Weekly DiscussionsDiscussion 1: After you have read the case study for Joseph Grey Wolf, imagine that you are a counselor advising him. In his situation, are his perceptions and expectations realistic or jut a sign of immaturity?What would you say to him about his situation? Why?What would you NOT say to him about his situation? Why?Be sure to support your comments with evidence of research, such as citations. Discussion 2:Today, large scale immigration into the countries and cultures of the so-called “rich world” including the USA, Canada and Western Europe is causing great stress, There are many migrants with cultural identity issues similar to Joseph Grey Wolf. There is now also great concern and growing opposition to large scale immigration of different ethnic groups from the poorer nations and cultures, especially those from collectivist cultures with different values. Ethnic and cultural differences in attitudes and behaviors can often lead to misunderstanding and conflict. Answer the following questions. Be specific and support your statements with citations from the readings or other reputable research as necessary.Why are people in the western world (North America and Western Europe) and Japan so concerned about the influx of immigrants from different cultures? What differences in cultural perceptions and practices might cause friction and conflict? Why? What, in your opinion, are the three most specific concerns, and are these concerns legitimate and reasonable? Why or why not?What, if anything can or should be done about these concerns?


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The International Handbook of Psychology
(Cross) Cultural Psychology
Edited by: Kurt Pawlik & Mark R. Rosenzweig
Book Title: The International Handbook of Psychology
Chapter Title: “(Cross) Cultural Psychology”
Pub. Date: 2000
Access Date: March 14, 2019
Publishing Company: SAGE Publications Ltd
City: London
Print ISBN: 9780761953296
Online ISBN: 9781848608399
Print pages: 328-346
© 2000 SAGE Publications Ltd All Rights Reserved.
This PDF has been generated from SAGE Knowledge. Please note that the pagination of the online
version will vary from the pagination of the print book.
© International Union of Psychological Science
SAGE Reference
(Cross) Cultural Psychology
18.1 What is Cross-Cultural Psychology?
Cross-cultural psychology has been variously defined. A consideration of some definitions should shed light
on how the field is construed by its students. According to a definition provided in an advanced textbook of
cross-cultural psychology (Berry, Poortinga, Segall, & Dasen, 1992) cross-cultural psychology ‘is the study of
similarities and differences in individual psychological functioning in various cultural and ethnic groups; of the
relationships between psychological variables and socio-cultural, ecological, and biological variables; and of
current changes in these variables’ (p. 2). This is a comprehensive definition of the field, involving on the one
hand a comparative focus on similarities and differences across cultures and on the other a focus on relating
psychological variables to environmental and even biological ones. Most researchers in the field focus on one
aspect of this definition rather than others, bringing about variations in perspectives and emphases. Thus, the
definition in the second edition of the Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology (Berry, 1997) states, ‘Cross-cultural psychology is the systematic study of relationships between the cultural context of human development
and the behaviors that become established in the repertoire of individuals growing up in a particular culture’
(p. x) (emphases added). The comparative focus in the former definition is not explicit here.
Inherent in the above characterizations is the issue of whether a contextualistic (non-comparative) or a universalistic (comparative) perspective is preferred. This is basically a methodological problem which will be
addressed later on. What is to be noted here is that this issue underlies the distinction between ‘cultural’
and ‘cross-cultural’ psychology. Though often seen as conflicting (Shweder, 1990), the two perspectives can
rather be considered complementary. Cultural psychology is psychology within the cultural context, and as
such all human psychology should indeed be cultural psychology, since no psychological phenomena occur in
a cultural vacuum. However, as we are far from this ideal, psychological inquiry that takes cognisance of the
cultural context qualifies as cultural psychology. If in such inquiry a comparative approach is used, and thus
at least two cultures are implicated, even if implicitly, then we are in the realm of cross-cultural psychology
(Kagitcibasi, 1996a, p. 12). Thus the use of both terms in the title ‘(Cross) Cultural Psychology’ is intentional.
With this understanding, in this chapter ‘cross-cultural’ will be used as a generic term unless a specific reference is made to ‘cultural psychology’ as such.
From the above description, it is clear that cross-cultural psychology is a general approach or outlook in psychological inquiry rather than a content area. Thus for example it is possible to talk about cross-cultural study
of social or cognitive behavior or cross-cultural developmental psychology. What is distinctive in such labels
is the term ‘culture’.
Numerous definitions of culture have been proposed, sometimes summarized as ‘the man-made part of the
environment’ (Herskovits, 1948). Usually the material aspects of culture, such as the built environment, as
well as customs and behaviors (‘explicit culture’) are differentiated from culture as a symbolic meaning system. The latter refers to shared ideas and meanings, such as beliefs and values (‘implicit culture’) (Berry et
al., 1992). An important characteristic of culture is its transmission through generations.
Culture is ubiquitous; therefore it is obvious that any human behavior is influenced by or is in response to
some aspect of culture. However, the diffuse, all-inclusive nature of culture presents a problem in research.
As a superordinate entity it can not serve as an independent variable or explanation (Segall, 1983), for such
an explanation can turn into an empty tautology, such as ‘Indians are this way because of their culture’. Therefore attempts have been made to define culture in less molar terms, that is ‘unpackaging’ it (Poortinga, Van
de Vijver, Joe, & Van de Koppel, 1987; Whiting, 1976).
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18.2 History and Present Status of Cross-Cultural Psychology
The roots of cross-cultural psychology are to be found in the nineteenth and early twentieth century European
anthropology and sociology as well as psychology and evolution; philosophical antecendents go back even
further. Accounts of this history can be found in a number of sources (e.g., Berry et al., 1992; Jahoda, 1990;
Jahoda & Krewer, 1997; Segall, Dasen, Berry, & Poortinga, 1990). In different European countries different
historical legacies are apparent. The beginnings of scientific psychology in Germany also contain the seeds of
cultural psychology. For example the influential scholarly journal launched by Steinthal and Lazarus in 1860,
Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaften, was devoted to the study of national or ‘folk’
psychology with an emphasis on language, customs, etc. Wundt, also, while on the one hand having founded
the first experimental psychology laboratory in 1879, on the other hand was greatly interested in cultural and
cross-cultural psychology, as demonstrated in his ten-volume Völkerpsychologie (1912–1921). Wundt tried to
reveal the mental basis of cultural development, and there was a general interest at the time in understanding
‘primitive culture’. Several German ethnographers studied drawings of ‘savages’ in South America and Africa.
In Britain, also, there was an interest in studying ‘primitive peoples’, as in Germany, but much more influenced
by the nineteenth century ‘cultural evolution’ offshoots of Darwinism, espoused by Spencer. Spencer resorted
to biological mechanisms to account for the origins and development of psychological and social phenomena,
and in particular formed parallels between the evolutionary process of development from simple to complex
life forms and the development of societies from simple/primitive to complex/civilized. The Lamarckian concept of ‘the inheritance of acquired traits’ was used as the basis of such evolutionary progression. Similarly,
nineteenth-century British ethnologists (Tyler, Morgan, Frazer) claimed stages of cultural evolution, stressing
the lower levels of ‘evolutionary’ development of ‘savages’. These views were well accepted even though they
had no scientific basis but were derived from impressionistic accounts of travellers and missionaries. They
seemed to provide ‘scientific’ justification for British colonialism.
The first scientific study of primitives’ visual perception was carried out by Rivers in the Cambridge expedition
to the Torres Straits Islands (between Australia and New Guinea) in 1901. The focus on perception/sensation
was mainly due to the popular assumption of the time, espoused by Spencer, that the excessive concentration of the primitive mind on sensory processes, such as better visual acuity than the Europeans, hinders the
development of their higher mental processes. Yet, Rivers did not find the primitives’ visual sensation/perception to be better than the Europeans’ in any marked degree.
Contemporaneously with Wundt’ V ölker-psychologie, American anthropologist Boas published The Mind of
Primitive Man (1911). What these two important figures, from different disciplinary backgrounds, shared was
a belief that despite the great difference between the cultural performances of the ‘primitives’ and the ‘civilized’ peoples, their underlying intellectual/ cognitive processes are basically the same. This view, which was
termed ‘psychic unity’ by Boas, challenged the dominant social evolutionary ideology of the time stressing the
inferiority of the less-civilized peoples. The claim for the universality of thought processes, came under attack from the French scholar Levy-Bruhl in his Les Fonctions mentales dans les Societes Inferieures (1910).
Unlike Boas, Levy-Bruhl did not carry out any fieldwork but relied on the impressionistic accounts of the day.
He labelled primitive mentality ‘pre-logical’, reflecting an evolutionary bias and claimed a qualitative difference
between the prelogical mystical thinking and the Western logical thinking. Though Levy-Bruhl later on softened some of his earlier assertions, the general thrust of his arguments remained influential.
In fact, the nineteenth century Zeitgeist of the inferiority of the non-literate people continued to influence the
thinking of psychologists and social thinkers well into the twentieth century. In particular, the tendency to see
similarities between primitives’ thinking and children’ (and mental patients’) was rather common. It was reflected in the claim, first made by Tylor, that ‘Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’, forming an analogy between the
development from childhood to adulthood and the development from ‘primitive’ to ‘civilized’ society. Known as
the recapitulation theory, this view was held for example by well-known developmental psychologists in the
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United States, Stanley Hall and Werner in the 1940s and 1950s. Jahoda (1990) notes that ‘it was not until
almost the middle of the twentieth century that the doctrine of the mental inferiority of people in non-literate
culture ceased to be scientifically respectable’ (p. 33).
Thus the central controversy in early cross-cultural work has been whether there are fundamental differences
in thinking across cultures that are critical to an understanding of human nature; or whether there are no
fundamental differences in basic psychological processes, the differences being in content or performance.
The former view, which emerged first but then lost popularity, has re-emerged recently in the relativistic perspective of ‘cultural psychology’ and ‘everyday cognition’ school, informed by Vygotskian thinking. In this new
form, however, it does not involve an ethnocentric social evolutionist stance as before but stresses the context-specific nature of psychological processes, to be discussed later.
The study of sensation, perception, and subsequently cognition was conducted in pre-literate societies in
Africa and Australia, by Western psychologists. These psychologists often worked in teams with anthropologists or utilized anthropological/ethnographic materials and data files. Quite a bit of research along these lines
was conducted in the post World War II period. The research and thinking in cross-cultural psychology have
therefore been closely influenced by anthropology, but not much by other social sciences such as sociology.
Later work is marked by a great expansion in both topics covered, the national origins of the researchers
and the locations where studies are done. Research has moved into diverse topical areas such as emotions,
the self, interpersonal relations, developmental psychology, social psychology, and work and organizational
psychology. In relative terms the study of basic processes, especially sensation—perception, decreased in
number and importance. A continued interest in cognition is seen, however, including cognitive development,
language, everyday cognition, and social cognition. As for the geographic expansion, on the one hand nonWestern psychologists in growing numbers are getting involved in cultural and cross-cultural research; on the
other hand, research is being conducted more in contemporary national societies, both Western and nonWestern, and less in isolated pre-literate societies.
The 1970s mark the establishment of cross-cultural psychology both institutionally and as a distinct discipline.
In 1971 a conference on mental testing with a cross-cultural perspective was held in Istanbul, organized by
Cronbach and Drenth (1972). In 1973 the Annual Review of Psychology had a chapter on ‘psychology and
culture’ for the first time. In 1972 the International Association for Cross Cultural Psychology (IACCP) was
founded, with Jerome Bruner as the president, at a conference held in Hong Kong, organized by Dawson.
From these beginnings this association has grown steadily with a membership of more than 700 from 71 different nations. There are also other associations involved in cross-cultural work of a general nature such as
the Society for Cross-Cultural Research, International Association of Applied Psychology, or focused on subdisciplines, such as the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, or regional ones, such
as the Inter-American Society and Asian Association of Social Psychology. Finally, the International Union of
Psychological Science has a growing involvement in international psychology. These institutional structures
provide supportive ground for cross-cultural research.
The great increase in publications in cross-cultural psychology, especially in the 1980s and 1990s may be
even more impressive than organizational activities. Some journals are clearly cross-cultural in their mandate,
such as Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Culture and Psychology, International Journal of Psychology,
Cross-Cultural Research, International Journal of Behavioral Development, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Psychology and Developing Societies, World Psychology, Applied Psychology: An International Review. Others emphasize an international, cross-cultural outlook. They attest to the internationalization of psychology and the growing importance of cultural, cross-cultural, and ethnic perspectives in research.
A six-volume Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology was published in 1980 under the general editorship of
Triandis. In 1997 a completely revised three-volume second edition (general editor: Berry) set the stage for
the field. Several authored and edited textbooks are now disseminating information to an increasing number
of readers. A number of reviews have appeared in the Annual Review of Psychology since 1973 as well as
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topical reviews in some mainstream journals. Cross-cultural psychology has come of age by the end of the
18.3 Theory and Method in Cross-Cultural Psychology
While the historical beginnings of cross-cultural psychology might have had understanding the primitive mind
and the mental basis for culture as an impetus, the more recent development of the field has had different bases and goals. Foremost among these is a reaction to the culture-bound and culture-blind nature of
mainstream psychology. Psychology has traditionally followed the physical science model, aspiring toward
universals in human behavior. In practice, however, this has not involved studying human behavior universally (globally) but rather within one cultural context (the Western middle class) and generalizing from it to
humanity. The limitation, even the invalidity, of this approach becomes more evident as we move from basic
psychological processes that are biologically based to the study of topics such as self—other relations, social
cognition, etc. which are more influenced by the cultural context. Thus the above-mentioned expansion in the
research topics of cross-cultural psychology was to be expected.
Since any theory that claims universality needs to be subjected to cross-cultural testing, comparative analysis
is of high priority in cross-cultural methodology. Thus a significant value of cross-cultural research is its possible contribution to the generalizability of research findings and therefore theory. The theoretical basis for a
comparative methodology is ‘universalism’, which holds that psychological processes are the same in all humans, though their manifestations in behavior may differ due to cultural factors. This view is also called the
‘etic’ approach in cross-cultural psychology. In contrast the ‘emic’ or the ‘cultural relativist’ approach claims
that context gives meaning, thus human behavior is context specific and should be studied within culture,
not comparatively.1 These contrasting theoretical perspectives are the contemporary parallels of the nineteenth—early twentieth century central controversy discussed above.
The research methodologies associated with these different paradigms show distinctive characteristics. Cultural, emic research, such as utilized in the study of ‘everyday’ cognition (e.g., Childs & Greenfield, 1980;
Rogoff, 1990; Scribner & Cole, 1981; for a review see Schliemann, Carraher, & Ceci, 1997) tends to be based
on observations within context and descriptive, qualitative analysis. It is akin to anthropological methodology. Cross-cultural, etic research often involves hypothesis testing with comparable samples of subjects, using
standardized measures (often tests or inventories and sometimes experimentation), resulting in quantitative
analyses. The methodological problems encountered in the two approaches tend to be different, also. In the
former, main problems are generalizability and replicability (external validity) of the findings; in the latter, sampling, equivalence (comparability), and cultural validity issues come to the fore.
Beyond the above contrasting research goals, establishing generalization of theory versus analyzing contextbased dynamics, cross-cultural research can also aim specifically to uncover cross-cultural differences again
for theory testing. In this approach if the cultures are known or demonstrated to vary on some theoretically
meaningful variable, such as individualism—collectivism, then this can serve as an ‘experimental’ manipulation whose effects on variations in some behavioral outcome can be studied.
All the methodological issues involved in psychological research with people also concern cross-cultural research, but there are also some additional ones which increase the challenge of conducting a cross-cultural
study. First of all, the choice or sampling of cultures from which subjects are to be drawn should be theoretically informed, rather than being based on convenience. There is however, the additional problem of the
sampling of subjects within each culture and particularly ensuring that they are comparable. For example the
fact that the two samples are university students does not ensure matching in contexts as different as the
United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. In the former tertiary enrollment reaches 70.4%, whereas in the latter
it is as low as 2.1% (UNESCO, 1991, p. 94); thus the latter would be a much more select group. A related
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problem, especially in ethnic research, is the social class standing of the subjects which is often confounded
by ethnicity. The differences at …
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