Know About Cross-Cultural Psychology: History, Types, And Impacts

Know About Cross-Cultural Psychology: History, Types, And Impacts

Cross-cultural psychology studies how cultural characteristics impact the behavior of human beings. However, several aspects of behavior and thought are universal, and differences in cultures can surprisingly result in differences in the way individuals feel, think, and act. There are certain cultures that advocate for independence and personal autonomy, which are called individualistic cultures. Whereas, there are some cultures that advocate for harmony and cooperation amongst group members, which are called collectivistic cultures. Culture refers to the factors like attitude, customs, behaviors, and values that are common for the group members, and they are conveyed from one generation to another. There are some marked distinctions that differentiate between several cultures even though there are several similarities in cultures all around the world. The main aim of cross-cultural psychologists is to identify both unique behaviors and universal behaviors and ways in which culture impacts the experiences socially, education, behavior, family life, and other aspects.


History of Cross-cultural Psychology:

In 1972, the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) was created, and since then this branch of psychology has grown and developed. Currently, several psychologists are studying and looking out for similarities and differences amongst all the cultures existing in our world. Researchers in the west, after several years of working in just the European and Northern American research, started to inquire if their work can be practical in the realms of another cultural environment. This led cross-cultural psychologists to suggest that the practicality of these tested researches is on a specific group of people and not generalisable universally. They also promote proceeding with research in a diverse cultural population to create a wider and broader variety of cultural settings.


Types of Cross-cultural Psychology:

There are two approaches in cross-cultural psychology, and the psychologists in this field focus on either of these two. The two approaches are as follows: The "Emic Approach", studies the culture from an insider viewpoint, it analyses the concepts of the culture being observed in a specific context. On the other hand, the "Etic Approach", studies culture from a viewpoint of an outsider, it applies a particular universal concept and then measures culture throughout the world. At times, psychologists working in this branch utilize the combination of these approaches, the emic-etic approach. Concurrently, some psychologists of this branch study ethnocentrism, which is the tendency of psychologists to consider their own culture as a standard to understand and analyze other cultures. Basically, ethnocentrism means utilizing your own culture to know what is measured under the concept of "normal". Using this approach can lead to biases and hinder your progress to understand how your own cultural perspective impacts your behaviors. Cross-cultural psychologists use ethnocentrism to understand how it impacts our thoughts and behaviors and how we communicate with a person of another culture. Cross-cultural psychology studies various subjects to focus on how different areas of development, behavior, and thought are affected by culture. Some essential aspects of analysis include language acquisition (understanding the development of language in different cultures), emotions (understanding if expressions of emotions are universal or if everyone's experience of emotion is the same), personality (how our personality is impacted by the culture we live in), child development (how the development of a child is influenced by their cultures and if the culture impacts the course of development), family and social relationships (how relationships are impacted by cultural factors), and social behavior (how cultural factors affect the social norms and behavior). 




Cross-cultural psychology is used and essential for various topics in the field of psychology. The knowledge of cross-cultural psychology can be utilized by teachers, curriculum designers, and educators who develop multicultural knowledgeable materials and lessons to understand the impact of motivation, learning, and achievement. Cross-cultural psychology is also helpful in understanding the variation in social cognition in between collectivistic and individualistic cultures, which is an eminent part of social psychology. This branch of psychology studies and analysis the impact of culture on the lives of human beings that influences their thoughts and behavior. Cross-cultural psychology also helps in the inclusion of a wider population to comprehend the universality of the phenomenon in psychology. This can further zoom in on the explanations of underlying causes and impacts on humans due to cultural factors. 

Courses or Programs in Cross-cultural Psychology:

There are various programs that are being offered by several organizations, like cross-cultural psychology by Global Integration (for comprehending cultural styles, advantages of cultural diversity, and the worth of inclusivity), country-specific cross-cultural training by Living Institute (which provides training in cultures and offers collaboration), building cross-cultural skills for global working by Culturewise (training in management, leadership, and communication skills according to the cultural requirements). Various reputed universities provide master’s degree programs that contribute to cross-cultural psychology, like social and cultural psychology by the London School of Economic and Political Science (for understanding the impact of how thinking, relations and behavior are impacted by culture and society); culture, adaptive leadership, & transcultural competence by the University of Amsterdam (provides knowledge about how psychological functioning is shaped and structured by culture); mental health: cultural psychology and psychiatry by Queen Mary University (how mental illness and health are impacted by cultural factors); diversity and inclusion leadership by Tufts University (); and criminal justice – diversity, inclusion and belonging by Saint Joseph’s University (how justice in crime can be understood through belongingness, diversity, and inclusion).



Cross-cultural psychology plays a significant part in understanding cultures all around the world. Even though the research and theoretical understanding are termed as either western or eastern in the field of psychology, cross-cultural psychology helps in creating awareness about the diversification required in the research in psychology and the necessity of representation holistically.

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