Cultural Psychology - What You Should Know About It

A big part of what is done here at crossculture2go derives from the scientific discipline of cultural psychology. Let’s take a quick look at what that is and how it impacts our global business lives. 

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Psychology, anthropology, linguistics, and philosophy all work together in the interdisciplinary field of cultural psychology to understand how people shape and are shaped by culture.

Culture Influences Our Everyday Lives

Among any group of people, it is their culture that dictates the ways in which actions and meanings are coordinated. Generally, culture leads to implicit and automatic human behaviour. It is influencing the way we go about our everyday lives and is structuring our society and its institutions. Geert Hofstede termed it the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes one group of people from another.

Culture Can Lead To Surprising Differences

Although many aspects of human thinking and behaviour are universal, and this is what the field of general psychology is all about, culture can lead to surprising differences in the way people act, think, and feel. Cultural psychologists have so far discovered a range of intriguing cultural differences in psychological processes, including reasoning, motivation, perceptions of time, space, and colour, building trust and relationships, and how emotions are experienced, regulated and expressed.

Culture Shapes Minds, Minds Shape Culture

Through their interaction with a culture’s norms and practices, people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours reflect a culture’s values and beliefs. However, this is never a one-way street. Cultural norms and practices also evolve over time as a result of individual thoughts and actions. Culture shapes individual minds as much as people shape culture. This makes people active cultural contributors rather than passive recipients of cultural influences.

Culture And Psychology Are Inseperable

As a result, culture and psychology are equally inseparable. Without human minds, culture does not exist. But you could also argue that what separates humans from other species is our ability to produce culture.

Cultural Psychology Is A Valuable Source

Cultural Psychology can teach us how and why people with different cultural backgrounds act, feel and behave so differently. At the same time knowing about universal aspects of the human mind also helps us to focus on what we all have in common. This makes cultural psychology such a valuable source for all of us who are living abroad and/or working across borders.

Key Takeaways

  • Culture leads to implicit and automatic behaviour.
  • People are active cultural contributors rather than passive recipients of cultural influences.
  • Cultural psychology shows how people shape and are shaped by culture.
  • Culture and psychology are inseperable.
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