p.p1 shocking diversity between the actions, thoughts and emotions

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Approach to Psychology – Cross-Cultural Psychology

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Cross-Cultural psychology looks at how human behaviour differs from culture to culture. This branch of psychology identifies the cultural factors which have an impact and influence on our behaviour. 

A majority of human behaviours and thoughts are labelled as being universal as there has been evidence of these occurring in various different people across a variety of cultures, however, cultural differences can cause a shocking diversity between the actions, thoughts and emotions of different people. These differences present themselves in certain situations and when talking about certain subjects, as different cultures usually hold different opinions and traditions highly. 

Cross-Cultural Psychology is being used to help carry out more research and gain more knowledge into understanding the similarities and differences between the large number of cultures throughout the world. It would be small minded and reductive of us to believe that all cultures agree and disagree on the same opinions and that all cultures believe the same behaviours are ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’.

The International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) was established in 1972, with a membership of over 800 people across more than 65 countries. The IACCP’s aims are that they want to facilitate communication among people interested in a diverse range of issues involving the intersection of culture and psychology.  –

Cross-Cultural Psychology is an important study as researchers began to realise that the observations and ideas that had once been viewed as universal may not be applicable to every culture that exists across the world. Most of the research was occurring in America and certain parts of Europe, this meant that most of the psychological findings and conclusions could only be applied and generalised to American or certain European populations and any closely similar populations. 

The research which is carried out by Cross-Cultural Psychologists allows for any pre-existing biases in research to be corrected and helps 

Pre-existing biases in research are corrected due to the research carried out by these psychologists and the study of culture also helps to identify if any of the findings that apply to the American and European cultures can also be generalised to cultures in other parts of the world.  

The goal of Cross-Cultural psychologists is to be able to look at both universal and unique behaviours to identify and pin point how culture effects our behaviour. They also look at other areas in which culture could be effecting, such as family life, education, social experiences, and many other areas within a persons day to day life.

There are two main approaches within the Cross-cultural approach, psychologists usually focus own using one or the other. 
The Etic approach: focuses on studying how different cultures are similar.
The Emic approach: focuses on studying the differences between cultures.

Ethnocentrism is another aspect looked at and studied by these psychologists, as it has a direct effect on how cultures and their actions, thoughts and emotions are viewed and judged by other people. The term Ethnocentrism refers to when someone is to evaluate other cultures according to preconceptions they have due to the standards and customs of their own culture.

If a person is ‘Ethnocentric’ they will use their own culture to decide and label specific behaviours and customs as being ‘normal’, and anything that is not familiar to them will be seen as ‘abnormal’ and may even be viewed and spoken about in a negative light. 


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