How Does Society Influence And Shape Individuals – Cultural psychologists explore how social and cultural norms affect behavior across gender, class, or other categories. In the study of these standards and values, scholars and professionals can gain the knowledge needed to build successful health, education, and other social interventions for a cultural group.
By studying cultural psychology, psychologists can also gain important information about what shapes human nature in the world, guiding the development of more effective mental health interventions.
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An example of a topic in cultural psychology is the different approaches to parenting found in cultures around the world. In countries like China or Japan, families emphasize obedience and conformity over personal autonomy, while Western societies prioritize self-exploration over conformity. The importance of these differences cannot be overstated because they have a huge impact on people’s perception of themselves in society. For more, see our article on parenting styles around the world.
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Comprehension Questions: As you read this article, our editor Chris will ask comprehension and critical thinking questions to help you get the most out of this article. Teachers, if you assign this article for homework, have students answer these questions at home, and use them as stimuli for class discussion.
Cultural psychology is a subfield of psychology that examines how cultural factors, such as cultural values and collective memory, shape human behavior, cognition, and emotion.
“Cultural psychology is an interdisciplinary field that unites psychologists, anthropologists, linguists, and philosophers for a common inquiry: the study of how cultural meanings, practices, and institutions influence and reflect the psychology of individual people.”
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In cultural psychology, culture is understood as a set of beliefs, values, norms, practices and symbols shared by members of a society or group.
These cultural elements are acquired through socialization—the process by which people internalize the values and practices of cultural groups.
“… are interested in discovering how shared cultural practices or traditions interact to shape psychological functioning in different ways” (p. 2).
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Research in cultural psychology investigates how cultural factors influence cognitive processes such as perception, attention, memory, and reasoning.
For example, studies show that people from different cultures attend to different aspects of visual scenes and show different degrees of holistic versus analytical thinking styles (Boduroglu et al., 2009).
Cultural psychologists also examine cultural differences in communication patterns (verbal/non-verbal), values related to self-esteem (collectivism vs. individualism), intergroup relations and social identity formation.
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Cultural psychologists believe that understanding the role of culture in the formation of human thought and behavior can help better appreciate the diversity between people in different cultures.
It can also provide insight into intercultural misunderstandings or conflicts that occur because people from different cultures approach situations with different beliefs or expectations (Chin et al., 2022).
In general, cultural psychology provides a unique perspective on how societal constructs influence people’s thought processes, behavior, and emotions.
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Comprehension Checkpoint: Write your own paraphrased definition of cultural psychology. Consider using keywords in your definition such as “human behavior,” “cultural factors,” and “values, norms, and attitudes.”
Comprehension Points: Come up with an example of how a cultural psychologist could help a hospital improve health outcomes for the diverse and multicultural communities they serve. What questions could the cultural psychologist ask the community, and what suggestions could they give to help health professionals develop cultural humility?
The origins of cultural psychology can be traced back to the early 20th century, when anthropologists began to apply knowledge from psychology to their own fields.
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Anthropologist Franz Boas rejected the idea that different races had inherent differences in mental abilities and instead argued that culture shaped individual differences (Seiferle-Valencia, 2017).
(1934). Benedict (1934) argued that cultural patterns are learned and transmitted from generation to generation, shaping human experience, perception and behavior.
Vygotsky’s theory of sociocultural development postulated that children internalize knowledge through interactions with others who transmit cultural practices, beliefs, and values (Pathan et al., 2018).
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Anthropologist Clifford Geertz also contributed to the development of cultural psychology, arguing that people interpret their world through shared symbolic systems.
In 1976, psychologist Harry Triandis introduced the concept of “cultural psychology” to explain how culture shapes psychological processes.
He argued that people in a culture share a set of beliefs or values that influence their perception of the world around them (Landis & Bhawuk, 2021).
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Since then, researchers in cultural psychology have advanced this line of thinking by examining how culture moderates attentional processes, cognitive styles, socialization practices, emotions experienced across cultures, etc.
Point of Understanding: Above, you were introduced to several key psychologists who were instrumental in the development of cultural psychology. In your notes, list each psychologist and their key contributions. Get ready to explore some of the contributions of psychologists in a pop quiz in class next week!
While many models have been used in cultural psychology, some of the most commonly applied include the 4 I’s Culture Cycle by Hazel Rose Markus and Alana Conner and the Whiting Model by John and Beatrice Whiting.
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This model begins by emphasizing the role of culture in the formation of individual identity. It suggests that people develop their sense of self through interaction with others who share cultural values and practices (Markus & Conner, 2014).
Comprehension Point: How is your personal identity affected by your family’s cultural identity? Consider what aspects of your culture’s religion and values you have taken into your own identity.
This framework considers all sociocultural institutions that impose prescribed behaviors vital to everyday life as key elements that dictate human psychology, including the inclusion of personality (Pope Edwards & Bloch, 2010).
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His model challenges traditional correlational science because different cultures have different criteria for observation, despite the same quality of existence reflected in belief systems or societal practices.
They explain the stages of development achieved by young people in these cultures, using complex analogies and specific language terms known only to members of a culture.
They emphasize how culturally influenced manifestations influence behavior at different stages of development, such as infancy, childhood and adolescence (Pope Edwards & Bloch, 2010).
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For example, in Japan, children quickly learn to delay gratification through daily routines such as eating family meals as well as procedures that improve family health such as bathing before retiring for the night.
These practices aim to cultivate an independent sense of self-esteem, emphasizing the importance of interpersonal relationships rather than the “go-it-alone” personality that is typical among Westerners raised with “self-made” ideals in education.
Let’s go deeper: In cultural psychology, we often categorize cultures into two categories: individualistic and collectivist cultures. It’s here
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Article on Western culture (individualism) and collectivism. In your workbook, draw a line down the middle of the page. List the individualistic cultural values on the left, and the collectivist cultural values on the right.
The importance of cultural psychology lies in its ability to help us understand our own culture and the culture of others.
By understanding how cultural beliefs and values shape individual behavior, we can better understand our own lives and the lives of others.
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Cultural psychology recognizes the importance of variation between cultures and the need to construct different psychological models that are applicable beyond Western understanding and social ideals.
Cultural studies helps people appreciate and value the differences between people in different cultures and avoid practices that lead to cultural stereotyping or intolerance.
Cultural factors can shape people’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, etc., in different ways specific to each society.
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Therefore, cultural psychology offers a framework to explain how people conceive of the environment in which they interact, emphasizing how culture influences the development of personality vis-à-vis worldviews.
Recognition of cultural differences allows effective communication between international parties, minimizing misunderstandings, tensions, etc., especially in casual environments such as work, where cultural diversity is increasingly common.
Insights from the cultural psychology literature can be used by sociologists, policy makers, and organizations to gain insights into different social phenomena.
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These may include intergroup relations between cultures (eg interracial marriage), family values, interpersonal dynamics in non-Western societies, communication patterns between ethnic groups working together in intercultural teams, etc.
For multinational corporations planning to expand their operations around the world, it is important to be aware of the nuances and cultural differences that exist in different countries.
This will allow them to not only understand local customs and practices, but also incorporate them into their advertising campaigns, including the tone and aesthetics of the language, while launching their products or services in new environments.
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Research in cultural psychology can help to better understand the environment, beliefs and values of clients in order to provide more appropriate therapeutic approaches and interventions.
Understanding Checkpoint: What good does cultural psychology do for the world? Consider its possible positive impact on health, education, politics and other areas of public life.
Cultural psychology is an important and very dynamic field that seeks to understand the role of culture in shaping human behavior and cognition.
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By examining the beliefs, values, and practices common to different societies, cultural psychologists can identify major differences between cultures, including how they engage in economic or any other area of activity.
Cultural psychology emphasizes the differences between people and supports the attention that must be paid to them in order to achieve our united goal of cultivating a world full of tolerance and mutual respect where diversity is celebrated.
Therefore, cultural psychology plays a very important role in understanding and appreciating diversity, navigating communication between international parties, researching critical issues for multiculturalism/international diplomacy, and also assisting marketing efforts.
Contoh Pidato Tentang Guru Singkat Dan Menyentuh Hati
Boduroglu, A., Shah, P., & Nisbett, R. E. (2009). Cultural differences in the allocation of attention to visual information processing.
Chin, T., Caputo, F., Lin,
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