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Lecture 1.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Simone Walker

1 Psy321-Lecture 1- January 10, 2014 What is Cultural Psychology? • (Peoples experiences influences psychological processes. A behavior can have different meanings in different cultures. This is what cultural psychology is all about. Cultural psychology challenges the aspect of normal psychology about how we are all same.) • A sub-field of psychology that uses a cross-cultural perspective • A view of understanding truth and principles about human behavior within a global, cross cultural perspective • Cross cultural research • Any type of research that compares human behavior across two or more cultures • Note that cross-cultural psychology is not a field on its own • (cross cultural research faces challenges) Why Study Cultural Psychology? • Are psychological processes the same everywhere OR do psychological processes emerge differently across different cultural contexts? • Etics • Processes that are consistent across cultures • Universal • Emics • Processes that are different across cultures or only seen in some cultures • Culture-specific Why Study Cultural Psychology? • Not an easy question to answer. Because it is depends on how you define it. • Ex. Is marriage universal? • Depends on • Level of abstraction- • Ex. Formal union between men and women with public knowledge that the couple is a couple then the definition of marriage sounds more universal. • The more abstract the definition… • The more evidence for universals • The lower the utility- so less useful. For example saying that marriage is a formal union is difficult to see. • Depends on • Different types of evidence that suggests a process is universal • Accessibility universal • Accessible to the same degree across cultures. When a behavior is found in multiple cultures, used in same way across cultures, accessible to the same degree across cultures. • Ex. Social facilitation: is the finding that individuals do better in easy or well learned tasks when they are in presence of other 2 people and do worse on complex tasks when they are in presence of other people. • Depends on • Different types of evidence that suggests a process is universal • Functional universal • Exists in multiple cultures, used in the same way across cultures, but more accessible to some cultures • Ex. Attraction to similarity (people attracted to people that are similar to them which exists in multiple cultures and re used for the same reasons, however cultures differs how placed on similarity when choosing a mate),ay be use of punishment (all cultures have punishments for violating rules and laws and they are used for the same purpose but there is evidence that some cultures use punishment more often than other cultures. • Depends on • Different types of evidence that suggests a process is universal • Existential universal • Exist in multiple cultures but is not used in the same way across cultures nor equally accessible to the same degree across cultures • Ex. Intrinsic motivation (drive to success that comes from the inside; this exists across all cultures but they differ in what experiences they find intrinsically motivating) and success/failure: some cultures find failure more motivating. • Nonuniversal • Does not exists in multiple cultures • Ex. Abacus reasoning: calculation tool used in many middle eastern and Asian cultures… research shows that cultures who use abacus make certain mistakes and do some set of psychological processes. Somethingted with a about even and odd numbers. Goals of Cultural Psychology • Testing or extending the generalizability of existing theories and findings (e.g., Freud’s Theory). Cultural psychology is interested in testing whether these theories apply to other cultures. • Exploring other cultures in order to discover variations in behavior that may not be part of one’s own cultural experience. • When it comes to our own culture, we feel that we don’t have a culture but everyone else does. Elements of our cultures may be invisible to us. We are socialized to feel that certain things are good and certain things are bad which can lead to ethnocentricity which is when we use OUR morals and values to judge others; so when we may judge the behavior of other culture peoples behaviors as bad. 3 • Co-sleeping may be common on other cultures and north American cultured people might think that it is wrong. So both these cultures might find each other strange which is ethnocentrism. • Integrating findings in such a way as to generate a more universal psychology applicable to a wider range of cultural settings and societies • Solving interracial or intercultural conflict is not the prime concern but is often a consequence. Why Study Cultural Psychology? • Testing or extending the generalizability of existing theories and findings • Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) • American undergrad is more than 4000x likely to be a participant than an individual outside the West • Not representative of global population. • People from western cultures make up 96% of the psychological research. • Findings from WEIRD samples represent an unusual slice • Undergrads make up 70% of psychological research. University undergrads are not representative of the population but some research think that it is not very problematic because they are researching basic psychological processes so they should be the same so we can make generalizations. • People from different cultures are more susceptible to different illusions. What is Culture? • across generations, that allows the group to meet basic needs of survival, pursue happiness and well-being, and derive meaning from life” • Culture involves… • Information • that is acquired through learning from others norm, ritual or practice • Meaning • Interpretation of different practices • Groups of individuals • People existing within some kind of shared context, geographical location, language, etc • Transmission across generations • Culture differs from… (but is sometimes used interchangeably with) • Society • A system of interrelationships among people • Culture • Refers to the meanings and information associated with social networks • Ex. Family which is a system of interpretational relationship. The meaning associated with family differs across cultures. Family has a meaning and information. Groups That Have Culture • Nationality 4 • A person’s country of origin • Nationality does not capture when culture is. • Subcultures may also exist in nations. • Language groups • We can say that language groups have a culture. Language and culture are very intertwined. Groups that share a common language may also share a culture. • Ethnicity • A person’s racial, national, or cultural origins • For psychology, saying that ethnicity and culture are the same is problematic. • Explanatory value • What variables related to ethnicity explain psychological differences among groups of individuals? • Gender • Gender is a social construct…we are not talking about sex here. So Gender is a cultural construct and is associated with specific cultures. • The behaviors or patterns of activities that a society or culture deems appropriate for men and women • Disability • Certain unique aspects about people with disability so can be said as a culture. • Sexual orientation • Has a culture Culture Versus Race • Race • Not the same as culture • Controversy surrounding • Definition? • Distinguishing characteristics? • Within vs. between race variations • Origins? Some researchers argue we have a common ancestor from Africa…other researchers have different theories about origin of race so very controversial so it is not a useful construct for us to use in psychology to analyze people. • Race as a social construction • If race is a social construct and may be related to culture there still may be problems. • Category boundaries? Culture Versus Popular Culture • Popular culture • Trends in music, art, and other expressions that become popular among a group of people • Sharing of expression and value by a group of people • But • Pop culture does not involve range of psychological attributes across psychological domains • Culture I transmitted from generation to generation but popular culture is not transmission across generations 5 What are the Contents of Culture? • Objective contents • Objective, explicit elements that are physical • Physical artifacts that will survive people • Ex. Architecture, clothing, books, food, art, eating utensils, etc. • Subjective contents • All those parts of a culture that do not survive humans as physical artifacts • Ex. Psychological processes, values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, norms, worldviews. The Contents of Culture – Values (subjective content) • Guiding principles that refer to desirable goals that motivate behaviour • Personal • Transitional desirable goals. Describe desirable states. • Cultural values • Abstract ideas about what a social collectivity views as good, right, and desirable. What society views as good, right, desirable. • Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions (example of culture values). (used factor analysis and his results showed that there are 5 cultural values that explain people s responses on his survey) • Individualism vs. Collectivism • How much a particular culture emphasizes that an individual must look out for self and immediate family vs. members of ingroup. • Power distance • How much of a member of a particular culture must accept have acceptance of unequal distributions of power • Uncertainty Avoidance • How much of a membe
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