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PSYCH403: Cultural Psychology

Unit 1: The History and Theories of Cultural Psychology   Our first unit explores the history and prevailing theories of cultural psychology.  This unit serves as an introduction to the way cultural psychology has developed as a topic of study.  As mentioned in the course introduction, the history of cultural psychology is somewhat limited, partly because many major psychological findings have traditionally been considered true for all individuals, regardless of cultural background.  In this unit, we review some of the ways this belief has been shown to be false.  We also investigate several current theories pertaining to how psychology can be understood in cultural terms.  While these theories are not all-encompassing, they make important contributions to the field.  As such, it will be important to keep these theories in mind as we progress through the different units.  

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 11 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 7 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3: 3 hours 

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Define culture and its basis of shared meaning and practices and explain how this is integrated into psychology.
  • Explain the historical underpinning of psychology, including the cultural facets that have been integrated to expand contemporary psychological thought.
  • List and describe cultural theories of psychology, including evolutionary and indigenous.

1.1 The History of Cultural Psychology   - Lecture: iTunesU: London School of Economics and Political Science: Professor Michael Cole’s “Re-Searching the Potential of Cultural-Historical Psychology” Link: iTunesU: London School of Economics and Political Science: Professor Michael Cole’s “Re-Searching the Potential of Cultural-Historical Psychology” (iTunesU Audio)
 
Instructions: Please click the provided link.  The website that opens will have a list of lectures from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  Be sure to locate the item with the title as listed above, “Re-searching the Potential of Cultural-Historical Psychology,” item number 20.  Place your mouse over the title, and a “play” button will appear. Please click this to start the lecture.  Listen to the entirety of this lecture, as it will introduce you to critical elements regarding the history of cultural psychology.
 
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1.1.1 The Nature vs. Nurture Debate: How Psychology Answered this Question   - Lecture: Grand Rapids Community College: Professor Dr. Gregory Forbes’ “Nature or Nurture: How do Genes, Environment, and Free Will Affect Human Behavior?” Link: YouTube: Grand Rapids Community College: Professor Dr. Gregory Forbes’ “Nature or Nurture: How do Genes, Environment, and Free Will Affect Human Behavior? (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please listen to the entirety of this lecture, as it will introduce you to salient information regarding the nature versus nurture debate, a major underlying concept in many of the theories of psychology.  The perspective taken in this debate is often determined by cultural background and belief systems.  
 
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1.1.2 The 20th Century: Replacing Ethnocentrism with Appreciation   - Reading: Human Communication: A Journal of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association: Dong, Day, and Collaço’s “Overcoming Ethnocentrism through Developing Intercultural Communication Sensitivity and Multiculturalism” Link: Human Communication: A Journal of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association: Dong, Day, and Collaço’s “Overcoming Ethnocentrism through Developing Intercultural Communication Sensitivity and Multiculturalism” (PDF)
 
Instructions: To locate the article, please click the above link.  Once on the organization and journal homepage, please select “Human Communication,” locate the journal year and issue number, “2008, 11(1),” and select primary author “Dong.”  Please read the introduction and literature review sections.  These parts of the article will cover the definition of ethnocentrism and the notion of appreciating other cultures through intercultural communication.  You do NOT need to read the method, results, and conclusion; however, you may choose to do so. 
 
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1.1.3 The Influence of Anthropology and Sociology   - Reading: DifferenceBetween.net’s “Anthropology vs Sociology” Link: DifferenceBetween.net’s “Anthropology vs Sociology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the definitions, history, and focus of anthropology and sociology.  This will introduce you to the concepts and help you compare and contrast in order to distinguish them from one another and see the value in both of them.
 
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1.1.4 Social Psychology and the Study of Culture   - Lecture: iTunesU: Harrisburg Area Community College: Professor David Bailey’s “Social Psychology” Link: iTunesU: Harrisburg Area Community College: Professor David Bailey’s “Social Psychology” (iTunesU Audio)
 
Instructions: Please click the provided link.  The website that opens will have a list of lectures from the Harrisburg Area Community College.  Be sure to locate the item with the title as listed above, “Social Psychology,” item number 19.  Place your mouse over the title and a “play” button will appear.  Please click this to start the lecture.  Please listen to the presented audio related to how culture and society can affect an individual person’s thoughts, perceptions, and feelings.
 
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1.1.5 Current Topics in Cultural Psychology Discussions   - Reading: San Francisco State University: David Matsumoto’s “Cross-Cultural Psychology in the 21st Century” Link: San Francisco State University: David Matsumoto’s “Cross-Cultural Psychology in the 21st Century” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire document in order to gain insight regarding the current research and practice issues in the field of cultural psychology, as well as the anticipated future directions of the field.
 
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1.1.6 Integration of Culture and Psychology   - Reading: Bridging Multiple World’s Alliance: Catherine R. Cooper and Jill Denner’s “Theories Linking Culture and Psychology: Universal and Community-specific Processes” Link: Bridging Multiple World’s Alliance: Catherine R. Cooper and Jill Denner’s “Theories Linking Culture and Psychology: Universal and Community-specific Processes” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read pages 1–14.  Often psychological theories are based on the notion that nations are culturally homogenous, and this document helps look at the integration of culturally heterogeneous ideals in psychology. To locate the article, please click the above link.  Once on the homepage, please select “Selected Publications” from the left sidebar.  Then please click the corresponding article with the title as listed above.
 
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1.1.7 Shared Elements: Shared Practices and Shared Meanings   1.1.8 Evolution and Culture   - Web Media: The Long Now Foundation: Paul Ehrlich’s The Dominant Animal: Cultural Evolution Link: The Long Now Foundation: Paul Ehrlich’s The Dominant Animal: Cultural Evolution (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please navigate to the website provided.  Once there, select Chapter 4, with the above title, and watch the brief video regarding the evolution of culture over time.
 
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1.1.9 The Eco-cultural Approach: An Inability to Separate Person and Environment   - Reading: Online Readings in Psychology and Culture: Gisela Trommsdorff’s “An Eco-Cultural and Interpersonal Relations Approach to Development Over the Lifespan” Link: Online Readings in Psychology and Culture: Gisela Trommsdorff’s “An Eco-Cultural and Interpersonal Relations Approach to Development Over the Lifespan” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read this article and note the interpersonal aspects as they relate to the intersection between people and their environment and how it contributes to their perspective on self and the world.  Pay particular attention to the section entitled, “Development in Culture: A Life Span and Interpersonal Relations Approach.”
 
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1.1.10 Distinction Between Cultural Psychology and Sociology and Anthropology   - Reading: Pub Med Central: I. M. Rosenstock’s “Cultural Anthropology, Social Psychology, and Sociology in Public Health” Link: Pub Med Central: I. M. Rosenstock’s “Cultural Anthropology, Social Psychology, and Sociology in Public Health” (PDF)
 
Instructions: This document reviews some of the particular differences and overlaps between these closely related disciplines.  Please review it to help you differentiate between these closely associated items.  Identify the areas of overlap and the areas of differentiation.  Use the page number tabs to view each page of the article (pp. 1820-1827), or choose the PDF link on the page to download the full PDF.
 
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1.1.11 Sociobiology: How Society Can Affect Biology   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s “Sociobiology” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s “Sociobiology” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the information regarding sociobiology, a synthesis of sociology and biology and a review of how certain cultures survive in their environments, a term coined byE. O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975).  You may also choose to read this original work for your reference by navigating to the PDF of the same name, although not required for the course.
 
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1.2 Functions of Culture   - Reading: Preserve Article: Ajay Bhatt’s “What Are the Important Functions of Culture?” Link: Preserve Article: Ajay Bhatt’s “What Are the Important Functions of Culture?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please review this document to learn the various reasons why culture is important and how it shapes us to view the world in a similar way to a collective group of people while at the same time aligning with individual belief systems.  Note that this reading covers the material you need to know for subunits 1.2.1–1.2.4.
 
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1.2.1 The Adjustment Function   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath unit 1.2.  Focus specifically on how culture plays a role regarding social adjustment. 

1.2.2 Ego-Defense   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath unit 1.2.  Focus specifically on how culture keeps our ego intact and may contribute to the shaping of our personalities.   

1.2.3 The Pleasure Function and Value Expressive   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath unit 1.2.  Focus specifically on how culture helps us to create interpretations and perspectives based on our value systems. 

1.2.5 Culture and Personality   - Web Media: YouTube: Humintell: Dr. David Matsumoto: “Culture and Personality” Link: YouTube: Humintell: Dr. David Matsumoto: “Culture and Personality” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please watch this brief presentation, which discuss how one’s culture may influence one’s personality, as well as those instances in which a culture cannot account for the individual differences seen in various personalities.
 
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1.3 Prevailing Theories of Cultural Psychology   1.3.1 Cultural Psychology and Ethnocentrism   - Lecture: iTunesU: Utah Valley University: Dr. Joylin Namie’s “Socio-Cultural Anthropology: Episode 3 – Through our eyes only: Ethnocentrism, Cultural Relativism, and Naïve Reaslim” Link: iTunesU: Utah Valley University: Dr. Joylin Namie’s “Socio-Cultural Anthropology: Episode 3 – Through our eyes only: Ethnocentrism, Cultural Relativism, and Naïve Reaslim” (iTunesU Video)
 
Instructions: This lecture covers specific information related to ethnocentrism, along with information that is imperative for a complete understanding of cultural psychology.
 
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1.3.2 Indigenous Theories of Psychology   - Reading: Pastoral Psychology: Paul Yang and Francis G. Yu’s “Indigenous and Cultural Psychology: Understanding People in Context” Link: Pastoral Psychology: Paul Yang and Francis G. Yu’s “Indigenous and Cultural Psychology: Understanding People in Context” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please select “here” after number 4 to bring up the required text, which highlights indigenous psychology theories, to broaden your understanding of people within their cultural context.  
 
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1.3.3 Culture Mixes: Interconnected and Mixing Cultures   - Web Media: Vimeo: Multiracial Identity’s Documentary, “Multiracial Identity” Link: Vimeo: Multiracial Identity’s Documentary, “Multiracial Identity” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please watch this brief video to learn how race mixing/ multiracism and culture mixing/multiculturalism have significant social, religious, and personal implications, in the past and present, because of the change they represent to the status quo.
 
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1.3.4 Evolutionary Framework of Culture   - Reading: Evolutionary Psychology: California State University, Long Beach: Kevin MacDonald’s “Evolution, Psychology, and a Conflict Theory of Culture” Link: Evolutionary Psychology: California State University, Long Beach: Kevin MacDonald’s “Evolution, Psychology, and a Conflict Theory of Culture”(PDF)
 
Instructions: Please navigate to the homepage for the journal of Evolutionary Psychology.  In the search box, type in keywords “conflict theory.”  The first search result will indicate the above-mentioned article.  Please click the title to retrieve article.  Please read the article in its entirety to learn about the psychological mechanisms that inform culture, including how we regulate and motivate ourselves as humans.
 
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1.3.5 Separating Understanding and Judging   - Reading: Diversity Training Today: Deborah Swallow’s “Understanding Cultural Differences” Link: Diversity Training Today: Deborah Swallow’s “Understanding Cultural Differences” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please review the webpage in its entirety to gather knowledge related to communicating across cultures.  The concepts posed are those of awareness and acceptance of differences in order to diffuse judgments that may arise based on a lack of information about another culture leading to stereotypes and other maladaptive culture communications and interactions.
 
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1.3.6 Investigating Cultural-Historical Change   - Reading: University of Central Missouri: Dorothy Robbins’ “What Is Vygotskian Cultural-Historical Theory?” Link: University of Central Missouri: Dorothy Robbins’ “What Is Vygotskian Cultural-Historical Theory?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Follow the link and locate the above named article to access the PDF.  Please read this document in its entirety to learn about cultural-historical theory as posed by Vygotsky, including its definition, framework, goals, and utility.
 
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