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Social Sci LibreTexts

2.S: Chapter Summary

  • Page ID
    16341
  • Review of Key Points

    • It is important for the field of psychology to consider both cross-cultural and intercultural research.
    • Emic tasks are familiar to the members of a given culture, whereas etic tasks are common to all cultures.
    • In cross-cultural research, it is important to determine whether a concept is equivalent in each culture being studied.
    • One of the most important considerations for the equivalence of psychological tests is the issue of translation equivalence. This can be addressed, in part, through examining back translations of the test(s) being used.
    • Back translation helps to decenter a psychological test from the cultural influence of the original language/culture.
    • Cultural flexibility and cultural response sets determine the range within which members of different cultures respond. Thus, one must have some understanding of these factors for a given culture when attempting to interpret cross-cultural or intercultural research.
    • Cross-cultural validation studies specifically examine whether a given cross-cultural study makes sense within the context of a research project.
    • Ethnographies provide detailed information on the daily lives and habits of the members of a given culture. They are often conducted by anthropologists, and can be of great value to cross-cultural psychologists.
    • Anthropologists, such as Ralph Linton, believe that personality develops on multiple levels. Central organization involves the biological aspects of personality (such as temperament), whereas the superficial organization is profoundly influenced by culture.
    • The process of enculturation involves internalizing cultural norms, and may be able to influence the central organization of individuals, as well as the superficial organization.
    • When an individual’s basic personality contradicts that which their social class expects of them, they may develop a status personality.
    • Complimentary personalities, such as those seen in typical gender roles, tend to be mutually adjusted.
    • The psychoanalyst Abram Kardiner, who worked with Linton, distinguished between the culturally-determined basic personality, or ego structure, and the individual’s character, which is their unique adaptation to the environment given their inherent tendencies and personal experiences.
    • According to Kardiner, personality development within a cultural setting provides a security system.
    • Acculturation can lead to changes both in individuals and in entire cultures.
    • The anthropologist/psychoanalyst Robert Levine proposed the term psychoanalytic ethnography to describe the work done by researchers like himself and Kardiner.
    • The sociologist Pitirim Sorokin described personality development within one’s entire cultural universe, referring to sociocultural phenomena in terms of their sociocultural space and sociocultural distance.
    • Religion appears to be the single most significant cultural factor.
    • Race and ethnicity are complex, and are hard to consider as cultural factors because they cannot easily be defined. Nonetheless, as individuals think about them in their own ways, they often give rise to ethnocentrism and, potentially, racism and discrimination.
    • Although sex is a biological distinction, gender roles are an influential cultural factor that is applied from very early in life. Certain aspects of gender roles likely reflect some of the underlying biological differences between males and females.
    • All societies recognize distinct age groups, and treat those age groups differently. However, there is great variation in the status of each age group, which often leads to conflict.
    • Old age is of particular interest, since the human species is the only in which individuals remain active long past their reproductive prime.
    • One of the common cross-cultural factors facing old men is the transition in how they seek master in their lives. Only young men can expect to be successful seeking active mastery, whereas older men seek passive master and then magical mastery.
    • In addition to sometimes dramatic differences between cultures, individuals within a culture also differ in the extent to which they integrate different aspects of their culture into their own lives.
    • Sometimes cultural phenomena interact, making for interesting, yet complex, situations. For example, religion has played an important role in the cultural identity of African Americans throughout their history in America.