Cultural Psychology


Cultural psychology is a branch of mainstream psychology. The main focus of cultural psychology is to study behavioural and psychological tendencies which are imbedded in the personality due to interaction with culture. The main principle of cultural psychology is that culture and mind are not separable and are equally constitutive. In other words, individuals are shaped according to the culture in which they live in and their culture is defined by the people.

Another major goal of cultural psychology is to increase the variation and number of cultures that contribute to psychological theories so that those theories become more reliable and relevant to the description, predictions and explanation with regards to all human behaviours and not only the behaviours related to western culture. It is an established fact that western, industrialized and educated population is overrepresented in research related to psychological aspects, yet the results are applied universally and considered to accurately represent other cultures.

Logical reasoning, social values, motivational processes and basic cognition are not the same; they vary across populations which has become increasingly difficult to ignore. If you are studying only a limited range of cultures within the human population, it will fail to account for a significant amount of diversity that exists in different cultures.

Cultural Psychology And Cross Cultural Psychology

Cultural psychology and cross cultural psychology can be easily confused. The main difference between these two fields is that cross cultural psychology uses culture as a means to test universality and differences of psychological processes. On the other hand cultural psychology determines how the cultural practices affect and shape psychological processes.

Vygotsky and Cultural-Historical Psychology

Theory of cultural historical psychology was formed by a famous psychologist Lev Vygotsky; he was a Soviet Russian and was the originator of cultural historical psychology. He introduced his theory in 1920s; it was further developed by his followers in Eastern Europe and his students.

His theory focused on aspects of culture like customs, values, beliefs and skills that are transmitted from one generation to another. According to him social interaction plays a vital role in the transmission of values, customs and beliefs, especially when interacting with knowledgeable individuals of the society or family. This helps children to get the knowledge and behaviours specific to their culture and society. The progress and evolution that children experience as a result of these collaborations differ greatly among cultures. This difference allows them to become proficient and skilled in tasks that are considered important or necessary in their specific society.

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