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Dr Rachael Sharman

PSY302: Intercultural and Indigenous Psychology Lecture 1 An Introduction to Culture and Psychology Cultural Psychology: Psychology with a Cultural Perspective - Psychology well equipped to meet the challenge of cultural diversity - First goal: build body of knowledge about people - Second goal: take body of knowledge and apply it to intervene in people’s lives - Applied psychologists engage in lifelong learning process to help intervene in people’s lives - Theories tested for validity both in science and on streets Cultural Psychology and Cross-Cultural Research - WEIRDOs (Western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic cultures) are not representative of all humans - Is that we know about human behaviour true for all people? - Cross-cultural research: tests cultural parametres of psychological knowledge; involves inclusion of people of different cultural backgrounds - Cultural psychology: phenomenon of understanding cultural influences on behaviour The Contribution of the Study of Culture on Psychological Truths - Important to incorporate a cultural perspective in mainstream psychology - Knowledge created in psychology should be accurate and descriptive of all people - Cross-cultural research tests whether what is true for some is also true for others - Cultural diversity in findings and cultural differences in research are widespread - Multicultural psychology incorporates psychologies of cultures around world The Contribution of the Study of Culture in our own Lives - Practicing cultural psychology is an exercise in critical thinking - Is what we know true for all people regardless of their cultural backgrounds? - Under what conditions do differences occur, and why? - What is it about culture that produces such differences? - What factors other than culture contribute to these differences? The Growth of Cultural Psychology and Cross-Cultural Research - Cultural psychology has made substantial impact in psychology worldwide - Popularity of cultural psychology due to importance of culture upon behaviour - Intercultural conflicts led to much interest in cross-cultural research - Theoretical models are increasingly incorporating culture - Increased interest in cultural psychology is a normal and healthy development What is Culture? - Many use culture, race, nationality and ethnicity interchangeably - Describes activities/behaviours - Refers to heritage/tradition - Describes rules and norms - Describes learning and problem-solving - Defines organisation of group - Refers to origin of a group Two Key Concepts to Keep in Mind - Culture as a “brain-changer”: developmental changes (eg: Aboriginal children and spatial memory) - Culture as set of rules/norms/social expectations (think about history of said rituals) Where Does Culture Come From? - Ecology: types of places where people live has major impact on HOW they live - Resources (natural and monetary) affect culture - Group living, needs and motives influence culture - Universal psychological toolkit: aptitude and cognitive abilities help people to adapt to environment - Individuals differ in how much they have or use their “toolkits”, but we all have similar “toolkits” A Definition of Culture - Provides guidelines/roadmaps on what to do, how to think and what to feel - Ways of living take advantage of toolkits to meet basic human needs - Definition: unique information system, shared by group, and transmitted across gene
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