Unit 4 - General Psychological Issues in Cultural Perspective

Contributions of cross-cultural psychology to general psychology spun a wide range. In this Unit, we present some of these important contributions. An implicit assumption of general psychology as a discipline has been that human psychological processes are fundamentally universal. Nevertheless, cross-cultural investigations of basic personal processes have revealed that there are considerable differences in these processes across distinct cultural groups, concerning affect (emotion, mood, feeling), motivation (needs, motives, desire, goals), and cognition (beliefs, language, memory, planning, decision, problem-solving). These cultural differences are highlighted in Unit 4.

Subunit 4.1 (Basic Psychological Processes and Culture) focuses on cultural differences in implicit motives (Jan Hofer & Athanasios Chasiotis), decision making (Stefan Strohschneider), planning (Dominik Güss), decision making (Dominik Güss), emotion representation and perception (Jeanette Altarriba, Dana Basnight & Tina Canary).

Subunit 4.2 (Language, Communication, and Culture) highlights the cultural differences in language, memory and communication. C-y Chiu discusses in depth on the role of language in cultural processes. Jeanette Altarriba examines the effects of bilingualism on memory and emotion expressions.

Subunit 4.3 (Intelligence, Abilities, and Creativity Across Cultures) concerns cultural differences in intelligence (Robert Sternberg), the conceptualisation of intelligence (Elias Mpofu), and in the development of creativity (Denise de Souza Fleith).

Subunit 4.4 (Personality and Values Across Cultures) covers the topic of personality and values across cultures, including the Five-Factor Model as a universal structure of personality trait (Robert McCrae), the personality factors specific to specific cultures (Tim Church & Marcia Katigbak), measurement of personality and values across cultures (Fanny Cheung & Shu Fai Cheung), the sexuality-personality links across cultures (David Schmitt), and the theory of basic human values and its application (Michael Hills).

These essays also address some critical questions concerning culture and general psychology – What aspects of psychological processes are shared generally and what aspects vary considerably across cultures? If certain psychological processes differ across cultural groups, what are the extents of their cultural variation? How can culture influence a particular process?

Subunit 1
Basic Psychological Processes and Culture

Subunit 2
Language, Communication and Culture

Subunit 3
Intelligence, Abilities, and Creativity Across Cultures

Subunit 4
Personality and Values Across Cultures