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Cultural psychology is defined as the branch of psychology that deals with the relationship between culture and mind. From the perspective of cultural psychology, culture and mind can not be separated. Culture is the compiled experiences of a given society and can be socially transmitted to new members of the society. Cultural psychology calls for comprehensive development in the domains of understanding culture and in discovering cultural bases that would emphasize varied psyche. Human beings are ultimately joined by common psyche and emotions, and the broader psychology of culture has been encouraged by Carl Gustav Jung as he centered on his studies, the significance of comprehending the collective unconscious, together with the elements which are usually passed from generation to generation. For the Cultural psychologists to collect data during any research, they normally use experimental and ethnographic methods (Ratner, 2008).
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According to Berry (2002), Cross-cultural psychology is the study of man's behavior and mental process in a systematic way. Cross-cultural psychology is concerned with differences in various cultures. It includes the variability and invariability of human behaviors and mental processes under varied cultural circumstances. The research in cross-cultural psychology can generate significant information on various topics of concern to psychologists. For instance, studies in cross-cultural psychology have found that the signs and symptoms of various psychological disorders fluctuate from culture to culture, and have resulted to a second thought on what makes up typical human sexuality. Homosexuality which is considered a pathological behavior in the United States of America, is approved of and practiced in other cultures since it is perceived as normal sex before marriage.
Ratner (2008) gives clear relationships of Cultural psychology and cross-cultural psychology as the main psychological approaches which deal with the study of the connection between psychology and culture. Like the rest of social science theories and methodologies, cultural psychology and cross-cultural psychology. The two approaches, like all social science theories and methodologies, rest on political related assumptions concerning the system we are living in. They as well have political influence for this system. This depends on the degree to which they absolutely sustain or dispute the status quo.
According to (Ratner, 2006) critical thinking can be defined as the thought processes that are involved to evaluate given information and applying the resulting trustworthy and logical conclusions into guiding human behavior. The critical thinking process is associated with fairness, accuracy, intellectual clarity, logic, credibility, and depth. Critical thinking is so much encouraged because by using it as a tool for analysis; one cannot automatically admit the validity of given information if analysis has not been done. By the use of critical thinking in cross-cultural research, the most reliable, accurate, and logical results will be obtained for further analysis. This is because there is always fairness and without bias during which raw data is collected from the field.
For the mainstream psychology, cross-cultural research must be put into practice. The cross-cultural research has had a most important impact on theoretical models of human behavior. Cross-cultural research methods in psychology allows for highest level of knowledge concerning the methodological problems that should be covered for the researcher to conduct a reasonable and dependable cross-cultural research. Researchers should be aware of the incongruence that may exist between their personal opinions or hypothetical models, and those possessed by the group or culture in which the research project is based. In case differences exist between the researcher and the respondent, they ought to be respected, and in this case care must be employed to avoid projecting the respondent's own morals onto the process of research (Matsumoto, 2001).
In order to collect data from a given culture, experiments are usually carried out and various methods are used to read and obtain results. Methodological facets of experimental blueprints have been well documented. In the case of experimentation, the true experiments occur in two groups. One of the experiments is called control group, and the other is the experimental group. It is the experimental group which is exposed to a given condition such as a medicinal drug of which the control group is not given. The condition introduced is referred to as the independent variable, and therefore the experimental and control groups do not have the same status because of this independent variable. Both experimental and control group must have all the other requirements similar apart from the independent variable, and this can be attained by employing specific rules to allocate subjects to these two groups. For example, the two groups could comprise of equivalent proportion of women and men given that gender is assumed to determine the dependent variable (Leung, 1997).
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Random assignment is another technique used to obtain data. By random assignment, subjects are put to the experimental and control groups at random. This type of assignment allows for the two groups to posses similar characteristics that are related according to the dependent variable.
Cross-cultural studies are vulnerable to measurement artifact more than the other fields of psychology. All phases during measurement have their origins of bias. Both choice and administration of instruments can result into existence of bias. Items can not be adequate. Scrutiny of bias is encouraged in all phases of a cross-cultural project. Unequivocal, explainable cultural differences result from conscientious theorizing, design, data analysis, and data collection (Stevens, 2007).
It is important to understand the impact that cultural influences exert on beliefs, priorities, behaviors, and basic values. The researchers must Academic researchers must be aware of the possibility for differences in individual perception when interacting with respondents from varied cultural backgrounds. Cross-cultural researchers must always give respect to and recognize the community values, ethical practice, and differing worldviews of the people in the given community where research is based. It is also critical to take required time to understand community workings.