Analysis of Culture and Psychological Research

We already discussed earlier that Psychology deals on Objectivity or Objective Introspection. So in this case, a question may arise, how culture could be the independent variable to study its influence on the development of the Psychology and Psychological Research?

Some of the definition of the Culture proposed are-

Culture is the total social heredity of the mankind – Linton (1936)

It is the man-made part of the environment – Herskovits (1948)

Culture is the shared way of life of a group of people – Berry, Poortinga, Chasiotis, Breugelsmans, Sam (2011)

Culture is a set of information (ex: ideas, believes, meaning) acquired from other members of the group – Heine (2015)

Unboxing variables from the Culture for Psychological Research

Berry in 1976 developed a framework called Eco-culture framework. According to this framework, culture is adaptive to the ecology and behavior is adaptive to the culture. Hence, both culture and behavior could not be studied in isolation from the ecological conditions of the human’s life.

In 1980, Berry unboxed some of the cultural variables to study the psychology of an individual. Those variables were-

  • Customary practices of groups
  • Recurrent experiences
  • Learning opportunity (ex: hunting, fishing)
  • Cultural supports
  • Socialization

Culture and Psychological Research

Aspects of Culture for Psychological Research

There are mainly two aspects of culture.

  1. Evoked Culture: When ecological conditions directly lead to determine certain behaviors then evoked culture comes into the picture. Example: Hunting and Gathering requires for the survival in the forest environment.
  2. Transmitted Culture: When cultures are transferred or learned through social transmission then transmitted culture takes place. Example: Parents teaches to respect elders to their children.

Transmitted culture is highly dominant for psychological research.

Culture is not static

Culture is not static rather they change and evolve over time. In earlier decades, the change was slower, whereas, in recent decades, the changes are faster. People are getting to know each other, mutual connections take place effectively. So all these assimilations could be coined in “Acculturation”.

Communication, Media, Transportation, Western schooling system, Urbanization, Industrial revolution acted as the positive catalyst for Acculturation to take place. When more than one culture interacts, a phase comes where one culture acts dominant over another culture. It could be even seen in the education system too.

Empirical evidence of Culture to change Human Behaviour

People who endorse biological factor to change in human behavior find difficult to believe that culture also determines the change in human behavior. We observe many people have cultural parents beside the biological one. Such people go through vast social and cultural learning through enculturation, acculturation, and socialization. Due to these learning, psychological functioning of an individual could be seen at micro as well as macro level.

So at the micro level, they change perception, learning, memory, thinking, etc, whereas, at the macro level, changes observed in social, organizational and health.

It has been observed from the research that human cognitive functioning is largely shaped by the features of ecology and culture.

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