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Cross-cultural and Cultural Psychology


Knud S. Larsen






Chapter 1 Cross-Cultural Psychology in a changing world

Chapter 2 Research approaches and critical thinking in cross-cultural psychology

Chapter 3 The origin of culture: Cultural transmission and socio-cultural evolution

Chapter 4 Human development: Culture and biology

Chapter 5 The evolution of language and socio-culture

Chapter 6 Cognition: Our common biology and cultural impact

Chapter 7 Emotions and human happiness: Universal expressions and cultural values

Chapter 8 Personality theory: Western, Eastern, and Indigenous approaches

Chapter 9 The Self: Cultural, social, and cross-cultural dimensions

Chapter 10 Culture, sex and gender

Chapter 11 Cultural values in organizational and social behavior

Chapter 12 Culture and human health






Chapter 1


1.1 Behavior as culture specific or universal.

1.2 The etic and emic approaches.

1.3 Cross-cultural psychology and cultural/ indigenous psychology.

1.4 Culture versus ethnicity and race.

1.5 All groups with a significant history have culture

1.6 Toward an inclusive definition of culture.

1.6.1 Culture is the evolution of human society.

1.6.2 Animal and human culture.

1.6.3 The ecological and sociological context.

1.7 Resource rich or poor cultures.

1.8 Cultural values and dimensions.

1.8.1 Universal values.

1.8.2 Cultural value dimensions.

1.8.3 The social axioms of Leung and Bond.

1.9 Enculturation, culture, and psychological outcomes.

1.10 Understanding cross-cultural psychology in a changing world.

1.11 The major objectives of cross-cultural psychology.

1.12 The ethnocentrism of Psychology.



Chapter 2


2.1 Cultural bias and criterion of equivalence.

2.1.1 The issue of language equivalence.

2.1.2 Psychometric equivalence.

2.1.3 Selecting equivalent samples in cross-cultural psychology.

2.2 Nonequivalence in cross-cultural research.

2.3 Levels of inference.

2.4 Studies of cultural level ecological averages.

2.5 What is measured in cross-cultural research?

2.6 Bias in psychological assessments.

2.7 Inferences from statistical tests on cross-cultural comparisons.

2.8 Experimental versus correlational studies.

2.9 Qualitative and quantitative research in cross-cultural psychology.

2.10 Quantitative comparative cross-cultural research.

2.10.1 Surveys.

2.10.2 Experiments.

2.11 The problems of validity.

2.12 A critical look at the findings from cross-cultural comparisons.

2.13 Skeptical thinking is the path to an improved cross-cultural psychology.



Chapter 3


3.1 The case for the biological foundations of human characteristics.

3.1.1 Evolution and the mechanisms of transmission.

3.1.2 Races as a biological and social construct.

3.1.3 The role of adaptation.

3.2 The research supporting the evolution of human emotion.

3.2.1 Universal temperament and personality traits are evidence of common evolved history.

3.2.2 Intelligence as a biological and racial construct.

3.2.3 Behavior genetics and disease.

3.2.4 Hardwired optimism: The driver for cultural development.

3.3 Sociobiology and evolutionary psychology.

3.3.1 Gender differences in mate selection.

3.3.2 Is ethnocentrism and racism a broader manifestation of inclusive fitness for reproductive success?

3.4 Culture matters!

3.5 Socio-cultural evolution: A little history.

3.5.1 The evolution of evolutionary theories.

3.5.2 Dual inheritance: Approaches to cultural transmission.

3.6 Theories of modernization and post-industrial society.


Chapter 4


4.1 Socialization or enculturation?

4.2 Enculturation and choice.

4.3 Authoritative versus authoritarian childrearing approaches and cultural differences.

4.4 Creating the climate of home: Cultural and cross-cultural studies.

4.4.1 The sleeping arrangements of childhood.

4.4.2 Attachment in childhood.

4.4.3 Relationships with siblings.

4.4.4 The influence of the extended family and peers.

4.5 Culture and the educational system.

4.6 Socio-economic climate.

4.7 Social identity.

4.8 Comparative studies in child rearing behaviors.

4.9 Human development is incorporation of culture.

4.10 Stage theories of human development: Culturally unique or universal.

4.10.1 The evolution of cognition.

4.10.2 The evolution of moral development.

4.10.3 Evolution of psychosocial development.

4.11 Human development is the expression of biology: the presence of universal values.

4.12 The evolutionary basis for human behavior: Maximizing inclusive fitness.

4.13 Perspective in the transmission of culture.



Chapter 5


5.1 The evolution of socio-culture and language.

5.2 Language development: the meaning of language terms and early speech.

5.3 Cultural language difference and linguistic relativity.

5.4 Cultural language and thought.

5.5 Universals in language.

5.6 Intercultural communication.

5.6.1 Obstacles and uncertainty reduction in intercultural communication.

5.6.2 The affect of bilingualism.

5.7 Nonverbal communication and culture.

5.8 Darwinian evolution and phylogenetic trees of language and socio-cultural evolution.

5.8.1 Selective group genetic advantages in cultural evolution.

5.8.2 The analogy of genetic and cultural evolution.

5.9 The tree branching of cultural traits.

5.10 Limitations of genetic and cultural co-evolutionary theory: Horizontal and vertical cultural evolution.

5.11 Cultural stability: Processes countering cultural evolution.

5.11.1 Migration and cultural stability.

5.11.2 Conformity and geographical mechanisms affecting cultural evolution and language development.

5.12 Social learning: Imitating success.

5.13 Religion, agriculture development and cultural evolution.

5.14 Phylogenetic evidence of the socio-cultural origins of language and other cultural traits.

5.14.1 Tracing the evolution of languages.

5.14.2 Evidence of language evolution.

5.15 Culture as a function of evolving information.

5.16 How did language evolve?

5.16.1 Contacts between different language speakers.

5.16.2 Artefactual languages.



Chapter 6


6.1 Culture and cognition.

6.1.1 Sensation and perception.

6.1.2 Cultural impact on sensation and perception.

6.2 Cognitive development.

6.3 Cognitive style and cultural values.

6.3.1 Field dependent and independent cognitive style.

6.3.2 Perception studies and cognitive style.

6.3.3 Collectivistic and individualistic cognition.

6.3.4 Greek versus Asian thinking style.

6.3.5 Dialectical and logical thinking.

6.3.6 Authoritarianism and dogmatism as cognitive styles.

6.4 The general processor implied in cognitive styles versus contextualized cognition.

6.5 Cognitive style and priming cognition.

6.6 Cross-cultural differences in cognition as a function of practical imperatives.

6.7 Intelligence and adaptation: general and cross-cultural aspects.

6.7.1 Definitions of general intelligence.

6.7.2 Nature or nurture: What determines intelligence?

6.7.3 Sources of bias in intelligence testing.

6.7.4 Socioeconomic differences and fairness.

6.7.5 Race and the interaction effect.

6.8 The use of psychological tests in varying cultures.

6.9 How intelligence is viewed in other cultures.

6.10 General processes in higher order cognition and intelligence.

6.10.1 Categorization.

6.10.2 Memory functions.

6.10.3 Mathematical abilities.

6.10.4 The ultimate pedagogical goal: Creativity.



Chapter 7


7.1 The universality of emotions: Basic neurophysiological responses.

7.1.1 How we understand the emotion of others: Facial expressions.

7.1.2 The effect of language and learning: Criticisms of studies supporting genetically based facial recognition.

7.1.3 The definitive answer to the source of the facial expressions of emotions: Biology is the determinant.

7.1.4 Universal agreement and cultural emphasis in other emotion constructs. Antecedents of emotions. Vocalization and intonation in emotional expression. Appraisal of emotion.

7.2 The role of culture in emotional reactions.

7.2.1 The display of emotions.

7.2.2 Individualistic versus collectivistic cultures: Display rules in emotion intensity and negativity ratings.

7.2.3 Personal space and gestures: Cultural influences in non-verbal communication.

7.2.4 Cross-cultural differences in evaluating emotions in other people.

7.3. The cultural context of emotional communication.

7.4 Toward a positive psychology of emotion: Happiness and well-being.

7.4.1 Methodological issues in definitions of happiness and well-being.

7.4.2 Sources of well-being.

7.4.3 The trending of happiness scores and economic crises and transitions.

7.4.4 The impact of culture on happiness and subjective well-being.

7.4.5 Creating social policies that promote well-being.

7.4.6 The role of national and local government.



Chapter 8


8.1 Western thoughts on personality.

8.1.1 Freud’s contributions.

8.1.2 The humanistic approach to personality.

8.1.3 Social-cognitive interaction theory.

8.1.4 Locus of control

8.1.5 Cross-cultural research on locus of control and autonomy: In control or being controlled.

8.1.6 Personality types and hardwired foundations.

8.1.7 The Big Five.

8.1.8 The genetic and evolutionary basis of personality.

8.1.9 Is national character a psychological reality?

8.2 Eastern thoughts about personality.

8.2.1 The Buddhist tradition.

8.2.2 The self and causation.

8.2.3 Buddhism and consciousness.

8.2.4 Buddhism as a therapeutic approach.

8.2.5 A critical thought.

8.3 Confucian perspective on personality and the self.

8.4 Culture specific personality: As seen from the perspective of indigenous cultures.

8.5 Some evaluative comments on Confucianism and indigenous psychology.



Chapter 9


9.1. The gradual process of self-awareness.

9.2 Knowing about the self.

9.3 The meaning of self-esteem.

9.4 Culture as a source of the self-concept

9.5 Toward the new globalized world: Multi-cultural self-identity?

9.6 Cultural boundaries of self-esteem and self-enhancement.

9.7 The self emerges out of temperament and hardwired personality traits.

9.8 The duality of the self-concept: the hard and easy problem.

9.9. Intuitive problems remain for the self using the easy brain definition.

9.10 The social self is formed in the process of socialization.

9.10.1 Family socialization create the framework for possible selves

9.10.2 The values of the group and our social self

9.11 The ubiquitous role of gender in formation of the social self

9.12 We develop the social self through comparisons with others

9.12.1 Downward and upward social comparisons used for self-enhancement or assessing achievement in individualistic cultures.

9.12.2 A summary of social comparison research

9.13 We know the self through self-observation

9.13.1 Physiological reactions and the two-factor theory of emotion

9.13.2 Physiological arousal can cause misattribution

9.13.3 The cognitive interpretation occur first followed by emotion

9.14 Is introspection to be believed: Self deception and moral standards.

9.15 The social self helps us organize cognition

9.15.1 Our mind and self-schemas

9.15.2 Regulating the self to reach goals and achieve

9.15.3 We experience stability but also temporary situational moments in the self-concept

9.16 Our self-concept is a source of motivation

9.16.1 Actual and ideal selves and motivation

9.16.2 The need for a consistent self and motivation

9.16.3 The desire to elevate self-esteem and culture

9.16.4 Individualistic culture and the obsession with self-enhancement

9.16.5 Positive illusions of self-enhancement and stress

9.16.6 Self-affirmation and threat.

9.16.7 False pride, aggressive ideology and self-esteem

9.17 The path to experiencing well-being

9.17.1 The complexity of self-attributes, self-efficacy and well-being

9.17.2 Can positive illusions serve the cause of well-being

9.17.3 The role of positive illusions in varying cultures

9.18 Performing in front of others and managing the impression of the self.

9.18.1 Protecting face by self-handicapping

9.18.2 Promoting the self by communicating competence or by association

9.18.3 Impression management and private or public self-consciousness

9.18.4 Impression management and cultural values



Chapter 10


10.1 Culture and gender.

10.1.1 Sex roles, gender stereotypes, and culture.

10.1.2 Gender and families.

10.1.3 Traditional versus egalitarian sex role ideologies.

10.2 Gender stereotypes and discrimination against women.

10.2.1 Dissatisfaction with body image.

10.2.2 Equal work equal pay?

10.3 Violence against women: A dirty page of history and contemporary society.

10.3.1 Intimate violence: The ubiquitous nature of rape.

10.3.2 Sexual exploitation.

10.3.3 Gender justice and the empowerment of women.

10.3.4 Gender ability differences and the role of culture.

10.3.5 Culture and gender differences in spatial abilities.

10.3.6 Current research on gender differences in mathematical abilities.

10.3.7 Gender and conformity.

10.3.8 Gender and aggression.

10.4 Sexual behavior and culture.

10.4.1 Mate selection.

10.4.2 Attractiveness and culture.

10.4.3 The future of love and marriage.



Chapter 11


11.1 Globalization and cultural values.

11.2 Social and organizational behavior.

11.3 Cultural differences in work-related values.

11.4 The cultural values of autonomy, egalitarianism, and harmony.

11.5 Western and non-Western values: Opposing perspectives.

11.6 Cultural differences on the five values.

11.6.1 Inequality and power distance.

11.6.2 The major focus of the cultural values of Individualism and collectivism.

11.6.3 Seeking security by uncertainty avoidance.

11.6.4 Maintaining gender differences: The masculinity-femininity value dimension.

11.6.5 Having the long view or seeking immediate gratification.

11.6. 6 Globalization and changing values.

11.7. Social interaction research reflects a culture that is dynamic and ever changing.

11.7.1 Universal perceptions of fairness, cultural perspectives and globalization

11.7.2 Coping with acculturation as a cultural minority.

11.7.3 The permanence of social change.

11.7.4 Performance and social loafing.

11.7.5 Conformity pressures and culture.

11.7.6 The paradigm of obedience to authority.

11.7.7 Various types of power in relationships.

11.8. Achievement motivation and modern society.

11.8.1 Motivation and cultural values.

11.8.2 Goals and cultural values.

11.8.3 Work serves important purposes of finding meaning.

11.9. Leadership and making decisions.

11.9.1 Culture and leadership.

11.9.2 Universal components of leadership and cultural values.

11.9.3 Globalization and the challenges of leadership abroad.

11.9.4 The cultural context of decision making.

11.9.5 Risk taking in varying cultures: The risky shift and group think phenomenon.

11.10 The structuring of tasks and team work.

11.10.1 Structure in social organizations and culture.

11.10.2 The effectiveness of team work in varying cultures.

11.11 Individualistic and collectivistic cultures and psychological contracts.

11.12 Cultural values and managerial issues.




Chapter 12


12.1 The injustice of health disparities in the world.

12.1.1 Socio-economic disparities and well-being.

12.1.2 Mental health among ethnic minorities: Injustice in the United States.

12.1.3 Migrants and refugees and stress: Mental health outcomes.

12.2 The role of culture.

12.2.1 Cultural health beliefs.

12.2.2 Problems in cultural definitions of abnormality and mental illness

12.3 Psychopathology as universal or relativist.

12.4 Culturally specific and universal factors in mental health.

12.4.1 Anxiety disorders.

12.4.2 Regulation of mood: Depression.

12.4.3 Schizophrenia.

12.4.4 Attention deficit disorder.

12.4.5 Personality disorders.

12.5 Culturally sensitive assessment of abnormal behavior.

12.6 Cross-cultural assessments of mental disorder.

12.7 Abnormal behavior and psychotherapy from cultural perspectives.

12.7.1 The cultural framework matters in psychotherapy.

12.7.2 Homogeneity of patient and therapist.

12.7.3 Approaches based in indigenous forms of treatment.

12.7.4 Adding the biomedical model to indigenous beliefs.






Life is getting increasingly complex and the evolution of culture is both rapid and ubiquitous. For example very recent research continues to demonstrate the improvement in IQ scores that has occurred steadily for nearly 30 years and all across the curve. These cognitive improvements specifically reflect abstract thinking and collateral changes in societies that started with the industrial revolution across large parts of the world. Although improvements in intelligence occur in components thought to be hardwired, biology cannot explain the historically rapid across the board change that must therefore reflect salient alterations in our global culture. Globalization has occurred collateral with IQ improvement and is ubiquitous in affecting nearly all cultures. Therefore many of the cultural values found in past research must be reevaluated in the present and replication work is essential for a reliable and valid cross-cultural psychology in the future.

This book reflects these varying influences and the great debates that continue between cultural and cross-cultural psychology. We favor inclusive approaches to understand both the deeper meanings of unique cultural contributions, but also what is universally found through comparative research. The great division between collectivistic societies and individualistic cultures are further examined for behavioral differences and values. The research on the Big Five suggests a deep universal structure of personality upon which cultures can write unique messages. At the same time we have also allowed space for a consideration of indigenous research as we are aware of the ethnocentric bias that can be present in the transfer of Western models to more cooperative and collectivistic societies.

These basic theoretical concerns are discussed throughout the book. For example the changing world is examined in chapter 1, especially the relationship of cross-cultural psychology to the dynamic and continuous cultural evolution in the world. In particular the reader is introduced to the salient differences between comparative cross-cultural psychology and indigenous psychology, and to the presence of culturally universal and unique values, and the potential ethnocentric bias in the research conducted by cross-cultural psychology. Chapter 2 was written with the goal of providing the logical tools essential to critical thinking in cross-cultural psychology and especially emphasizes the importance of the construct of equivalence. The origin of culture is discussed in chapter 3 where the book makes in this and succeeding chapters a strong case for the evolutionary basis of cultural development and the dual inheritance model for cultural transmission. In chapter 4 on human development the research on socialization and enculturation are evaluated along with cognitive, moral and psycho-social development. In particular we discussed that the maximizing of inclusive fitness is the basic motivation for human behavior in all its forms.

A basic and unique feature of human evolution is language and socio-culture discussed in chapter 5. The existing research supports the Darwinian model for understanding phylogenetic tree-like evolution of languages and collateral sociocultural evolution. Chapter 6 is devoted to cognition believed to have derived from initial sensation and perception. The chapter evaluates the validity of cognitive styles, collectivistic and individualistic thinking, and the historical differences between Greek and Asian cognition expressed in logical and dialectical thinking processes. Emotion and human happiness is discussed in chapter 7. The biological evolutionary and universal basis of emotional life is strongly supported by the research literature although display rules may vary between cultures. The chapter argues strongly for a positive psychology of human emotion and corresponding social policies. Chapter 8 integrates the discussion on Western, Eastern and indigenous approaches to personality theory. Major theoretical approaches are discussed from the point of viewpoint of each theoretical orientation along with the research that supports the ubiquitous presence of the Big Five traits. The chapter also evaluates the contributions of Buddhism and Confucian thought to our understanding of personality. The related topic of the self and self-concepts are discussed in chapter 9, in particular cultural, social and cross-cultural contributions to our understanding of self-hood. The chapter highlights the discussion of the so-called “hard” and “easy” problem, and the hard problem of understanding the nature of the “knower” remains to be solved in the authors’ opinions. Major theories on the development of the self are discussed. Chapter 10 discusses the cultural implications of the research on sex and gender. Although the feminist “revolution” has altered gender relationships in the Western world with some overlap in many other regions there are still salient differences in the treatment of the genders supported by the traditional versus egalitarian sex role ideology. Violence against women is paradoxically related to traditional views that devalue the role of women in society. Work is central to human life and is discussed in chapter 11. The affects of globalization and the significant research based on the Hofstede work-related values are discussed. The differences between collectivistic and individualistic cultures continue to influence work-related behavior. Finally, chapter 12 discusses the relationship between culture and health. The injustice of health disparities are directly related to socio-economic injustice. The chapter also provides a discussion on abnormal behavior as understood from both cultural and comparative approaches. From the point of view of a positive psychology well-being ought to be the first cause of both cross-cultural and cultural psychology.

As the reader can observe from these introductory remarks the book is comprehensive in coverage. The theme of evolution is supported by research in all comparative fields. The supporting biology for human cultural evolution can also be observed from collateral research. Reading this book should give the student many tools with which to understand cultural developments globally and in society.



Chapter 1

Date: 2015-01-11; view: 1092

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