See yourself outside of the culture bound

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Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (1992).Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.


The authors of this book are professors from Canada, Netherland, and Norway. Among them, Berry is a professor at the department of psychology at Queen's University, Canada. He carried out research on cross-cultural theory and methodology, and ecological factors in human development. Defined by the Berry et al. (2011), cross-cultural psychology is the study of similarities and differences in individual psychological functioning in various cultural and ethnocultural groups, a study of ongoing changes in variables reflecting such functioning and the study of the relationships of psychological variables with sociocultural, ecological and biological variables. The goal of the cross-cultural study is to test existing psychological theories, to explore other cultures in order to discover psychological variation a...
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Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (1992).Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.


The authors of this book are professors from Canada, Netherland, and Norway. Among them, Berry is a professor at the department of psychology at Queen's University, Canada. He carried out research on cross-cultural theory and methodology, and ecological factors in human development. Defined by the Berry et al. (2011), cross-cultural psychology is the study of similarities and differences in individual psychological functioning in various cultural and ethnocultural groups, a study of ongoing changes in variables reflecting such functioning and the study of the relationships of psychological variables with sociocultural, ecological and biological variables. The goal of the cross-cultural study is to test existing psychological theories, to explore other cultures in order to discover psychological variation and to integrate into a universal psychology. In this book, the authors take a moderate universalism perspective on issues of methodology and theory, in which both similarity and difference, culture-specific and culture-general constructs are emphasized. Behavioral studies about development, social behavior, personality, cognition, and perception are discussed in the first part of this book. In the second part, the authors present the relationship between culture and anthropology, culture and biology, and methodological concerns. And in the last part, applications of cross-cultural studies are discussed which includes acculturation, communication and training, organization and work, and health.

The discussion of the different perspective raises an argument about through which perspective is the most appropriate way to study human behavior. In the beginning part of the book, the authors introduce three perspectives to analyze human nature, which are absolutism, relativism, and universalism. The absolutism perspective assumes that there is an underlying common ("truth") in human nature and tries to study human behavior with a neglect of cultural and environmental forces. The relativism concentrates on describing human behavior as they exist and functions within the sociocultural environment. It assumes human seek meanings, and construct rather than discover reality. The universalism agrees with relativism about the mutual influence between human and sociocultural environment, but it also assumes that it is possible to establish a commonality in human nature through comparing different cultural groups. As the three perspectives are different, the construction of research question and selection of research methods would be largely influenced by the different perspective the researcher would take. For example, a study about how people attribute different facial expression with emotions might take an absolutism perspective and apply lab experiments to study the cognition process. While the researcher who takes a universalism perspective might focus more on how cultural background affect people's understanding of facial expression, and try to study the similarities and differences in cognition process among people from the different sociocultural backgrounds. The perspective a researcher takes would largely determine research question and the methods he/she would be used in the study. So my question is, how should researcher decide which perspective would best suit their research focus?
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