Cultural psychology is an emerging field of psychology that studies how culture and context shape individual behavior and cognition. The field is interdisciplinary, combining elements of psychology, anthropology, sociology, and other social sciences. Cultural psychology has the potential to provide a comprehensive explanation of behavior, as it recognizes the influence of both external and internal factors. This article will provide an overview of the field, its history, major theories, and current research.
Cultural psychology is a relatively new field, emerging in the mid-20th century as a result of the increased global interconnectedness of the world. As cultures around the world began to interact more, psychologists began to recognize the need to consider the influence of culture on behavior. In the 1940s, Gordon Allport and Otto Klineberg published the first studies on the interaction of culture and personality. These studies began to explore how culture was related to behavior, cognition, and emotion. Later, in the 1960s, the field began to be referred to as “cross-cultural psychology” and was defined as the study of behavior and mental processes in different cultures. This definition has since been expanded to include the study of both cross-cultural and intracultural differences.
The two main theories in cultural psychology are the Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and the Cultural Niche Theory (CNT).
The CHAT was developed by Lev Vygotsky in the 1920s and is based on the idea that human behavior is shaped by the cultural and historical contexts in which it is developed. The theory proposes that the environment and social interactions play a major role in developing cognitive abilities, and that individuals are active participants in their own development.
The CNT was developed by Richard Shweder in the 1980s and is based on the idea that different cultures have specific ways of organizing and interpreting their environment. The theory proposes that individuals develop different cognitive strategies based on their cultural context, and that these strategies can be used to interpret and interact with the environment.
Research in cultural psychology has focused on a variety of topics, including cultural influences on cognition, emotion, language, and behavior. For example, studies have shown that culture affects the way individuals perceive and process information, think about emotions, and interpret language. Additionally, research has demonstrated how culture influences the way individuals respond to stress and how they perceive and interact with others.
Cultural psychology is an interdisciplinary field that studies how culture and context shape individual behavior and cognition. The field has a long history, and two major theories, the Cultural-Historical Activity Theory and the Cultural Niche Theory, have been developed to explain cultural influences on behavior. Research in the field has focused on a variety of topics, including cultural influences on cognition, emotion, language, and behavior.
Allport, G. W., & Klineberg, O. (1940). Studies in the scope and method of “the psychology of peoples.” New York: Social Science Research Council.
Shweder, R. A. (1984). Cultural psychology: What is it? In J. W. Stigler, R. A. Shweder, & G. Herdt (Eds.), Cultural psychology: Essays on comparative human development (pp. 1-42). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.