Psychologists are interested in the ways that cultural forces influence psychological processes. They study culture as a means of better understanding the ways it affects our emotions, identity, relationships, and decisions. Psychologists generally ask different types of questions and use different methods than do anthropologists. Anthropologists are more likely to conduct indigenous (ethnographic) studies. In this type of research, the scientist spends time observing a culture and conducting interviews. In this way, anthropologists often attempt to understand and appreciate culture from the point of view of the people within it. Psychologists who adopt this approach are often thought to be studying cultural psychology. They are likely to use interviews as a primary research methodology.
Cultural psychology is distinct from cross-cultural psychology, and this can be confusing. Cross-cultural studies are those that use standard forms of measurement, such as Likert scales, to compare people from different cultures and identify their differences. Cross-cultural studies serve as backbone of cross-cultural research in psychology but methodological issues can have an impact on research quality.
At the end of the chapter, you should be able to:
- Distinguish between cultural psychological and cross-cultural psychological research methods.
- Identify advantages and disadvantages between indigenous and cross-cultural studies.
- Identify methodological issues that are magnified when studying other cultures.
- Distinguish between ethnocentric bias and cultural attribution theory.
- Identify key ethical principles when conducting cross – cultural research.
- Identify key ethical challenges when conducting cross – cultural research.
- Explain why some topics are considered sensitive in some cultures.