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Published online: 8 Dec Published online: 9 Jul Published online: 26 Nov Virginia Braun et al. Qualitative Research in Psychology Volume 3, - Issue 2. Published online: 21 Jul John W. Alain Pinsonneault et al. Published online: 15 Dec More Share Options. We will cover issues such as the nature of culture and various approaches to the study of culture. Some of the controversial topics that we will discuss are definitions of culture What is culture and what is not culture?
Where does culture come from? What creates cultural differences? What kind of items work or do not work? The theme of the second day is statistical analysis. It is often seen as a tool through which a researcher discovers a truth hidden in the data. This apparent simplicity misleads many people, including some experienced scholars.
In fact, a large and complex dataset can be analysed in different ways creating different results, which sometimes are contradictory. In that case, the goal of the statistical analysis is not to find the one and only one truth that hides in the data but to create a scientifically acceptable truth: a solution that Learn more proves to be practically useful.
This means that the chosen solution should explain interesting phenomena as logically and parsimoniously as possible. Both cultural and cross-cultural studies have their own advantages and disadvantages see Table 1. Interestingly, researchers—and the rest of us! For example, Diener and Oishi were interested in exploring the relationship between money and happiness.
They were specifically interested in cross-cultural differences in levels of life satisfaction between people from different cultures. They also collected data on average income levels in each nation, and adjusted these for local differences in how many goods and services that money can buy.
The Diener research team discovered that, across more than 40 nations there was a tendency for money to be associated with higher life satisfaction. People from richer countries such as Denmark, Switzerland and Canada had relatively high satisfaction while their counterparts from poorer countries such as India and Belarus had lower levels.
Cross-Cultural Research Methods | SpringerLink
There were some interesting exceptions, however. People from Japan—a wealthy nation—reported lower satisfaction than did their peers in nations with similar wealth. In addition, people from Brazil—a poorer nation—had unusually high scores compared to their income counterparts. One problem with cross-cultural studies is that they are vulnerable to ethnocentric bias.
This means that the researcher who designs the study might be influenced by personal biases that could affect research outcomes—without even being aware of it. For example, a study on happiness across cultures might investigate the ways that personal freedom is associated with feeling a sense of purpose in life.
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The researcher might assume that when people are free to choose their own work and leisure, they are more likely to pick options they care deeply about. Because of the danger of this type of bias, social psychologists must continue to improve their methodology. Culture is a word that suggests social patterns of shared meaning.
In essence, it is a collective understanding of the way the world works, shared by members of a group and passed down from one generation to the next. Similarly, members of surfing culture understand their athletic pastime as being worthwhile and governed by formal rules of etiquette known only to insiders.
There are several features of culture that are central to understanding the uniqueness and diversity of the human mind:. Understanding the changing nature of culture is the first step toward appreciating how it helps people. The concept of cultural intelligence is the ability to understand why members of other cultures act in the ways they do. One of the biggest problems with understanding culture is that the word itself is used in different ways by different people.
The truth is, there are many ways to think about culture. Here are three ways to parse this concept:.
The understanding of culture as a learned pattern of views and behaviors is interesting for several reasons. First, it highlights the ways groups can come into conflict with one another.
Culture and Psychology: Perspective of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Members of different cultures simply learn different ways of behaving. Modern youth culture, for instance, interacts with technologies such as smart phones using a different set of rules than people who are in their 40s, 50s, or 60s. Older adults might find texting in the middle of a face-to-face conversation rude while younger people often do not. These differences can sometimes become politicized and a source of tension between groups. One example of this is Muslim women who wear a hijab , or head scarf.
Non-Muslims do not follow this practice, so occasional misunderstandings arise about the appropriateness of the tradition. Second, understanding that culture is learned is important because it means that people can adopt an appreciation of patterns of behavior that are different than their own. For example, non-Muslims might find it helpful to learn about the hijab. Where did this tradition come from?
What does it mean and what are various Muslim opinions about wearing one? Finally, understanding that culture is learned can be helpful in developing self-awareness. For instance, people from the United States might not even be aware of the fact that their attitudes about public nudity are influenced by their cultural learning. While women often go topless on beaches in Europe and women living a traditional tribal existence in places like the South Pacific also go topless, it is illegal for women in some of the United States to do so.
These cultural norms for modesty—reflected in government laws and policies-- also enter the discourse on social issues such as the appropriateness of breast-feeding in public.
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Understanding that your preferences are—in many cases—the products of cultural learning might empower you to revise them if doing so will lead to a better life for you or others. Harry Triandis, a cross-cultural psychologist, has studied culture in terms of individualism and collectivism. Triandis became interested in culture because of his unique upbringing. The Italian soldiers broadcast classical music in the town square and built a swimming pool for the townspeople.
He realized that he would have to learn English if he wanted to pursue academic study outside of Greece and so he practiced with the only local who knew the language: a mentally ill 70 year old who was incarcerated for life at the local hospital.
He went on to spend decades studying the ways people in different cultures define themselves Triandis, So, what exactly were these two patterns of culture Triandis focused on: individualism and collectivism? Individualists, such as most people born and raised in Australia or the United States, define themselves as individuals. They seek personal freedom and prefer to voice their own opinions and make their own decisions.
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By contrast, collectivists—such as most people born and raised in Korea or in Taiwan— are more likely to emphasize their connectedness to others. They are more likely to sacrifice their personal preferences if those preferences come in conflict with the preferences of the larger group Triandis, Both individualism and collectivism can further be divided into vertical and horizontal dimensions Triandis, Essentially, these dimensions describe social status among members of a society.
People in vertical societies differ in status, with some people being more highly respected or having more privileges, while in horizontal societies people are relatively equal in status and privileges. These dimensions are, of course, simplifications. People from individualistic societies often have more social freedoms, while collectivistic societies often have better social safety nets.