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Psychology Paper Cross Culture

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PSY/450 – Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology Paper
Aspectsof Culture in PsychologyCultural context is a major element in understanding human behavior and psychology. Berger
(2011) explains, “Culture affects every action—indeed, every thought” (p. 13). The culture that an individual lives in along with the similarities and differences between cultures provide vital information in understanding psychological processes. Cultural Psychology Cultural context is not separable from the person; it is a vital part of individual psychopathology. Shiraev and Levy (2010) explain that cultural psychology studies the individual within a specific culture. The cultural psychologist seeks out meaningful links between a specific culture and the individual in that culture.
The cultural psychologist examines the individual in a cultural norm.
Cultural
Influences on the Individual
According to Shiraev and Levy (2010), “Before reaching adulthood, most of us do not choose a place to live or a language to speak” (p. 2). These cultural elements influence many aspects of human developmental processes. From the moment of birth, cultural elements play an important role in human development, development of personality, and individual psychological aspects. It is impossible to separate human behavior from cultural experiences because cultural exposure forms individual value systems,belief systems, and knowledge bases for each individual within any specific culture. The goal of cultural psychologists is to study cultures and the effects those cultures have on human development, learning, behavior, and psychological processes.
Cross-cultural Psychology Cross-cultural psychology is the “critical and comparative study of cultural effects on human psychology” (Shiraev & Levy, 2010, p. 2). The cross-cultural psychologist examines differences and similarities between cultures and the individuals who live in those cultures. According to Berger (2011), “The challenge is to identify both universalities and differences and then to describe them in ways that simultaneously unify humanity and distinguish each individual” (p. 7).
Cultural Comparisons
Cultural comparisons permit researchers and psychologists to gain a greater perspective concerning the differences and similarities between cultures. One important aspect of cross-cultural psychology is in assisting other psychological sciences in determining the differences between normal and abnormal behaviors and development. It is extremely important that Clinical Psychologists consider cross-cultural factors before making a determination concerning abnormalities.Some behaviors that seem abnormal are perfectly normal behaviors if the correct cultural context is known.
Role of Critical Thinking “Despite the impressive accomplishments of the human intellect, one frequently comes face to face with examples of faulty reasoning, error, and misjudgment” (Moore & Parker, 2007, p. 1). Critical thinking plays a crucial role in cross-cultural psychology ensuring that the cross-cultural psychologist or researcher avoids fallacy of thought concerning the comparisons between cultures. Critical thinking skills permit the researcher to screen information to ensure that the information is relevant and scientifically valid. Cross-cultural psychology relies on comparisons, so it is necessary to employ critical thinking to guarantee observations and comparisons are not vague, ambiguous, or obscure. Finally, critical thinking presents a method of thinking that eliminates subjective thought and value judgments that create fallacy of thought that create comparison errors.
Methodology
According to Shiraev and Levy (2010) research methods in cross-cultural psychology include quantitative and qualitative research methods. These methods permit the researcher to identify, describe, and explain the similarities/differences between cultures. Berger (2011) explains how a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures assists in determining positive and negative correlations between cultures. One example Berger (2011) provides relates to a positive correlation between children’s reading levels in China and America. Researchers could identify smaller family size and parental involvement as possible influences in early reading skill development.
Quantitative
Research
Quantitative methods permit the researcher to measure central tendencies between two or more variables. “The central tendency of a group of scores (a distribution) refers to the middle of the group of scores” (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2009, p. 34). The mode, median, and mean scores measure the central tendency of variables.
Mode
“The mode is the usual way of describing the central tendency for a nominal variable” (Aron, Aron, &
Coups, 2009, p. 39). The mode is the most common value in a distribution of variables. The variable with the greatest occurrence in a group of scores is the mode score. In cultural studies, this measure is helpful in gathering statistical information.
Median
The median score is the number that falls at the center of a group of distributed scores. To figure the median score use the formula
. M is then located on a distribution by counting the number of scores on either side of the middle point of a distribution of scores (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2009).
Mean
The mean score is an average representative summary of scores. The formula to figure the mean of a set of variables is
. The sum of all scores divided by the number of scores equals the mean score of a set of variables (Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2009). The mean is the most common measure of central tendency.
Qualitative
Research
The
primary focus of qualitative research centers on discovering elements and aspects in cultures that may be difficult or impossible to measure using quantitative methods (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Qualitative methods typically involve observation in a natural setting (Shiraev & Levy, 2010), long interviews, and observation through anthropological studies (Aron, Aron, &
Coups, 2009). Often the information gathered from this type of research is useful in developing research questions.
Argument for
Blended Research Methods
According
to Aron, Aron, and Coups (2009) many researchers argue for a blended methodology in research practices because qualitative research is vulnerable to the subjectivity of the observer. The idea of blending includes use of qualitative research methods to identify important elements and quantitative research methods to determine the presence of or absence of that element within the cultural populous.
Conclusion
The purpose of cross-cultural psychology is to explore and compare the differences and similarities within a culture that have a direct effect on human behavior and development. The information gathered from studies in cultural and cross-cultural psychology assist psychologist in gaining a better understanding of the human condition.
References
Aron,
A., Aron, E. N., & Coups, E. (2009). Statistics for psychology (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Berger,
K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Moore,
B. N., & Parker, R. (2007). Critical thinking (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Shiraev,
E., & Levy, D. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed).
Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon…...

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