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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Research in culture and psychology: past lessons and future challenges

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Since the dawn of psychology as a science, conceptual and methodological questions have accompanied research at the intersection of culture and psychology. We review some of these questions using two dominant concepts—independent versus interdependent social orientation and analytic versus holistic cognitive style. Studying the relationship between culture and psychology can be difficult due to sampling restrictions and response biases. Since these challenges have been mastered, a wealth of research has accumulated on how culture influences cognition, emotion, and the self. Building on this work, we outline a set of new challenges for culture and psychology. Such challenges include questions about conceptual clarity, within‐cultural and subcultural variations (e.g., variations due to social class), differentiation and integration of processes at the group versus individual level of analysis, modeling of how cultural processes unfold over time, and integration of insights from etic and emic methodological approaches. We review emerging work addressing these challenges, proposing that future research on culture and psychology is more exciting than ever. WIREs Cogn Sci 2014, 5:1–14. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1267 This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Genes and Environment Psychology > Theory and Methods Neuroscience > Cognition
Illustrations of independence between culture at the individual and group level of analysis. (a) An illustration of a multilevel analysis on two cognitive style tasks (Framed‐Line‐Task, measuring attention to context, and attribution task, measuring situational versus dispositional tendencies to explain behavior) across five cultures. The dotted lines indicate the association between them at the individual level both within each culture and with all cultures collapsed, whereas the solid line indicates the association at the cultural level. The ellipses represent a ±SE around a group mean on each variable and the within‐culture correlation influences its orientation. (b) A hypothetical example: even when two groups differ on all measures of a given construct there may be no tendency for an individual in a given group whose score is relatively high on one measure to have scores that are relatively high on other measures. Three bars indicate three different attributes of cognitive style and higher scores on the y axis reflect more holistic cognitive style. (Reprinted with permission from Ref. Copyright 2010 U.S. National Academy of Sciences)
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Objective social class contributes to the sociocognitive processes and class‐consistent behavior directly and indirectly through subjective rank perception. Environmental affordances influence all relevant processes (e.g., lack of resources due to poverty, or self‐directed orientation afforded to middle‐class occupations). (Reprinted with permission from Ref. Copyright 2013 Taylor & Francis)
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Cognitive Biology > Genes and Environment
Neuroscience > Cognition
Psychology > Theory and Methods

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