Cultural Issues in Psychology: A Students Handbook (Foundations of Psychology)

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Through acceptance of ones responsibilities and conscious application, communities have opportunity for improvement which in turn supports the individuals within the community. One of the most significant themes in recent years has been cultural differences between East Asians and North Americans in attention , [17] perception , [18] cognition , [19] and social psychological phenomena such as the self.

Stereotyping thus views individuals as homogeneous products of culture.

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Self-reporting data is one of the easiest and most accessible methods of mass data collection, especially in cultural psychology. Cultural psychologist, Richard Shweder argues that the psyche and culture are mutually constructed and inseparable. Some criticisms state that using self-report may be a relatively unreliable method, and could be misleading especially in different cultural context. Regardless that self-report is an important way to obtain mass data, it is not the only way. In fact, cultural psychologists utilized multiple measurements and resources no different from other scientific researches — observation, experiment, data analysis etc.

In this study, researchers designed laboratory experiment to observe participants' aggression, and crime rate, demographic statistics were analyzed. The experiment results supported the culture of honor theory that the aggression is a defense mechanism which is rooted in the herding cultural origin for most the southerners. Quantitative statistics of cultural products revealed that public media in western countries promote more individualistic components than East-Asian countries. For example, when thinking of mother, the brain region related to self-concept showed significant activation in Chinese, whereas no activation observed in Westerners.

These consist of culturally derived ideas and practices that are embodied, enacted, or instituted in everyday life. In it, they refer to the mutually constitutive nature of culture and individual as a "culture cycle. The first "I" concerns how an individual thinks about and expresses itself.


Studies show that in the United States, individuals are more likely think of him or herself as "independent", "equal", and "individualistic". Individuals have characteristics that are consistent across time and situation. When asked to describe themselves, Americans are likely to use adjectives to describe their personalities, such as "energetic", "friendly", or "hard-working".

In Japan, studies show that individuals are more likely to think of themselves as "obligated to society", "interdependent", and "considerate". The self is adaptable to the situation. Japanese individuals are therefore more likely to describe themselves in relation to others, such as "I try not to upset anyone," or "I am a father, a son, and a brother. Interactions with other people and products reinforce cultural behaviors on a daily basis. Stories, songs, architecture, and advertisements are all methods of interaction that guide individuals in a culture to promote certain values and teach them how to behave.

In the US, no-smoking signs focus on individual action by simply saying "No Smoking". These signs reflect underlying cultural norms and values, and when people see them they are encouraged to behave in accordance with the greater cultural values. The next layer of culture is made up of the institutions in which everyday interactions take place. These determine and enforce the rules for a society and include legal, government, economic, scientific, philosophical, and religious bodies. Institutions encourage certain practices and products while discouraging others.

In Japanese kindergartens, children learn about important cultural values such as teamwork, group harmony, and cooperation. During "birthday month celebration," for example, the class celebrates all the children who have birthdays that month. This institutional practice underscores the importance of a group over an individual. In US kindergartens, children learn their personal value when they celebrate their birthdays one by one, enforcing the cultural value of uniqueness and individualism.

Everyday institutional practices such as classroom birthday celebrations propagate prominent cultural themes.


John and Beatrice Whiting, along with their research students at Harvard University , developed the "Whiting model" for child development during the s and s, which specifically focused on how culture influences development. The Whitings coined the term "cultural learning environment", to describe the surroundings that influence a child during development.

This results in maintenance systems i. These factors inform learned behavior, or progressive expressive systems that take the form of religion, magic beliefs, ritual and ceremony, art, recreation, games and play, or crime rates. Many researchers have expanded upon the Whiting model, [35] and the Whiting model's influence is clear in both modern psychology and anthropology. According to an article by Thomas Weisner in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology , "All these [more recent] approaches share a common intellectual project: to take culture and context deeply and seriously into account in studies of human development.

While self-enhancement is a person's motivation to view themselves positively, self-improvement is a person's motivation to have others view themselves positively. The distinction between the two modes of life is most evident between independent and collectivistic cultures. Some strategies employed when self-enhancing often include downward social comparison , compensatory self-enhancement, discounting, external attributions and basking in reflected glory.

This motivation is often derived from a desire to not lose face and to appear positively among social groups. A main distinction to understand when looking at psychology and culture is the difference between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. People from an individualistic culture typically demonstrate an independent view of the self; the focus is usually on personal achievement. Each representation is at either end; thus, some members of individualistic cultures may hold collectivistic values, and some collectivistic individual may hold some individualist values.

The concepts of collectivism and individualism show a general idea of the values of a specific ethnic culture but should not be juxtaposed in competition. These differences in values across cultures suggests that understanding and expressing empathy may be manifested differently throughout varying cultures.

This created four types of empathy to further examine: 1 dispositional intellectual empathy; 2 dispositional empathic emotion; 3 experienced intellectual empathy; and 4 experienced empathic emotion. These four branches allowed researchers to examine empathic proclivities among individuals of different cultures. While individualism was not shown to correlate with either types of dispositional empathy, collectivism was shown to have a direct correlation with both types of dispositional empathy, possibly suggesting that by having less focus on the self, there is more capacity towards noticing the needs of others.

More so, individualism predicted experienced intellectual empathy, and collectivism predicted experienced empathic emotion. These results are congruent with the values of collectivistic and individualistic societies. The self-centered identity and egoistic motives prevalent in individualistic cultures, perhaps acts as a hindrance in being open to fully experiencing empathy. Cultural empathy became broadly understood as concurrent understanding and acceptance of a culture different from one's own. This idea is meant to foster cultural empathy as well as engender cultural competence.

Eysneck [57] conceptualized ethnocentrism as using one's own culture to understand the rest of the world, while holding one's own values as correct. Concomitant with this barrier to intercultural empathy, Rasoal, Eklund, and Hansen [58] posit five hindrances of intercultural empathy; these include:.

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These five points elucidate lack of both depth and breadth as hindrances in developing and practicing intercultural empathy. Another barrier to intercultural empathy is that there is often a power dynamic between different cultures. Bridging an oppressed culture with their upper-echelon oppressor is a goal of intercultural empathy.

One approach to this barrier is to attempt to acknowledge one's personal oppression. Through this, the goal is that intercultural empathy can lend toward broader intercultural understanding across cultures and societies. Four important facets of cultural empathy are: [55]. These four aspects may be especially helpful for practicing cultural competence in a clinical setting. Given that most psychological practices were founded on the parochial ideals of Euro-American psychologists, cultural competence was not considered much of a necessity until said psychologists increasingly began seeing clients with different ethnic backgrounds.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Applied psychology. Cultural Psychology. New York: W. The cultural matrix of social psychology. Lindzey Eds. San Francisco: McGraw-Hill. Thinking Through Cultures. Harvard University Press. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science.

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Psychological Inquiry. Culture theory: Essays on mind, self, and emotion. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Valsiner ed. The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. American Psychologist. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Oxford University Press. Southwest Airlines. Yale University. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Request Information. Student Handbook. Clinical psychology is the psychological specialty that provides continuing and comprehensive mental and behavioral health care for individuals and families; consultation to agencies and communities; training, education and supervision; and research-based practice. There are multiple training models in Clinical Psychology Scientist-Practitioner, Practitioner-Scholar, Clinical Science and these models reflect the relative focus on research and clinical training.

Thus, although students in our program receive excellent clinical training, the focus is on producing Clinical Scientists who will work in setting that take full advantage of their research as well as clinical skills e. Our mission is to prepare students for professional careers in a variety of settings where they engage in research, teaching, or clinical supervision; and who make contributions to clinical science by disseminating research findings and scholarship.

Within this general mission of providing high-quality, science-based training, we strive to prepare a significant number of graduates who establish careers in academia and research institutes where they have primary responsibilities for conducting research that advances clinical science and for teaching new generations of clinical scientists.

Our graduates establish successful careers in academia, professional practice and other research settings where they use the clinical science training they pursued as graduate students. The hour program of study includes a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive, a prospectus and a dissertation. Prospective doctoral candidates should have a passion and interest in clinical psychology, have demonstrated research skills in a senior thesis, have a minimum of a 3. Accreditation Status. Thus, the descriptions that follow are designed to give you an idea of the available curricular choices.

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Child Clinical Area of Emphasis. A major focus is on the prevention of child mental health problems among children and families under stress. Thus, most of our child clinical faculty also participate in our community-prevention area of emphasis. Table of Child Clinical Faculty.

Health Psychology Area of Emphasis. Clinical students with interests centering on the interface of psychology and medicine may select Health Psychology as an area of emphasis. Table of Health Psychology Faculty. Students study theoretical issues such as the influence of stress and coping, family processes, acculturation and cross-cultural issues, neighborhood influences, and economic hardship on the development of mental health or substance abuse problems. Students also become involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of preventive interventions to promote healthy adaptation for children in a range of high-risk situations.

Foci of preventive interventions include children of divorce, inner-city ethnic minority children, bereaved children, and school-based programs. It has been our experience that most of our students will choose one of the three specialty areas which represent domains of faculty interest as well as clinical or preventive specialties for which an employment demand now exists. Some students might begin a particular emphasis but later decide to move in a different direction.

Collectively, psychology has hundreds of evidence-based programs that can help improve the well-being of children, adolescents, families and communities. Coursework for the doctoral clinical program is to some extent, determined by APA requirements. A minimum of 84 hours is required.