Cross-cultural psychology- the influence of culture on our actions

Cross cultural psychology analyses human beings from different cultural backgrounds to try and mark out the differences and similarities in them. The larger point made in the field is to find relationships between different cultures, although it does not have to be. At a deeper level, like all branches of psychology, it tries to uncover secrets of the human mind and understand its functioning albeit in a social context.

Photo by Haseeb Jamil on Unsplash

The roots of the field can be traced to the philosopher Herodotus, who had the prescience to note that all human beings were ethnocentric. Cross cultural psychology as a formal subject however emerged in the 20th century in the works of academics such as Luria, Bartlett and Vygotsky. By the 1960s it had become a separate discipline from both psychology and anthropology, although closely related to — and gaining insight from — both. At this juncture a very important discourse was taking place regarding the universality of psychological discoveries.

Up till this point, it had been assumed that psychological inferences drawn from research were applicable to all regardless of cultural background. The cross cultural psychologists of the 1960s broke with this tradition and sought to create new standards of research that responded to the difference in being of individuals accruing from a difference in cultures. Finally, in 1974, Tapp, Kelman, Triandis, Wrights-man, and Coelho proposed a code of ethics for cross cultural research which has remanded a centrepiece of cross cultural psychology ever since.

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

In the years since, research in the field has covered numerous issues of importance. Berry (1980) is a landmark text which attempts to explain how people from different cultures interact and how individuals craft new behaviours and modes of living by drawing from multiple cultures. Of course, there is also the possibility of denial of certain cultures which is also discussed by the author alongside a wide range of intermediate positions. By attempting to understand these issues, Berry started the conversation about cross cultural communication and truly brought the field to prominence.

Today cross cultural psychology has numerous applications. In a quickly polarising political climate, where distinctions are being drawn across cultural lines, there is a great need for research that explains these subjects and paves the way for reconciliation, respect and mutual understanding.




Sushmit Gupta is a high school student based in India.He has developed a keen interest in Social Psychology, and its affect on a diverse populace.

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Sushmit Gupta

Sushmit Gupta

Sushmit Gupta is a high school student based in India.He has developed a keen interest in Social Psychology, and its affect on a diverse populace.

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