Psychology Paper on Pain

Pain Veronica Tran Essay #1 Psy 1 (#48954) Pain Everyone everywhere will experience pain; whether it is everyday or once a week. Paper cuts, pinches, or even simply jamming your fingers between your door, are all painful accidents. Pain is the undesirable feeling; the red alert which signals our attention to something unfavorable happening to our bodies. Our bodies can detect pain by nocioceptors. Nocioceptors are special nerve receptors designed for stimuli that are encountered as painful (Benjamin B. Lahey, 2009). There are two significant pathways these neural pain messages travel to our brain; fast and slow.
The fast and slow pathways are the reason why our bodies endure pain at different times. The first experience would be a noticeable short pain, and realization of what’s going on. The second experience is an extended painful sensation. An example of the pathways combined would be dropping a 15lb weight on your foot. First sensation would quickly make u move that weight off and then stare at your foot. The second would make you land on the floor holding your foot while screaming. We experience these divided painful sensations for two reasons.
Both experiences are on two different paths with two different speeds to our brains. The neurons are thicker, covered in myelin in the fast path making the movement quick. The slow pathway consists of smaller neurons, no myelin, and in result makes the transmission slow. Reason number two, both pathways go through different parts in our brains. The fast neural pathway moves through our thalamus and to the matosensory area. The matosensory area is located in the parietal lobe of the brains cerebral cortex. It receives and translates the sensory information from our skin and body.

Which is how we are capable of locating where and what is happening to our bodies. The matosensory area locates the action but is not responsible for our emotional reactions to pain. Information moving on the slow pathway travels to the limbic system. The limbic system is where we feel the emotional experience to the pain that is happening. The gate-control theory of pain was conducted by Psychologist Ronald Melzack. The theory was that in the brain stem, a matrix of neurons regulates the circulation of impulses from the nocioceptors to the cerebral cortex.
Messages from the body’s receptors go to the brain and through the brain stem. The “pain gates” is the area where the slow pain neural fibers pass. The gates in the brain stem can either be opened or closed. This really means this has part in making us more or less sensitive to the activation of the nocioceptors. When “opened” the gates can allow more slow-pain neural transmission on to the slow path to the limbic system. Therefore our emotional experience to the pain lasts longer. The gates can also be “closed”; that is less transmission of slow pain impulses, in result less pain.
Fast pathway does not travel through the gates, but cannot be blocked. Endorphins signal the gates to close, preventing pain message from reaching the brain. Cancer can develop pain all on its own because it is cancer. The main cause of pain in cancer is the growing or destroying tissue near or on the cancer infected area. Cancer pain can come from where the cancer had developed. Or other areas spread around the body where the cancer had traveled. During the time when the tumor matures, it can begin to hit nerves, bones, or other organs causing physical pain to the patient.
Not only can cancer be painful physically to the body, but it can also cause pain chemically. Chemicals they secrete into the region of the tumor can cause pain. Not everyone diagnosed with cancer experiences pain, usually one out of 3 cancer patients going through treatment does (Timothy Moynihan, 2010). Pain concerning cancer always depends on what type of cancer the patient is diagnosed with. Those who have advanced cancer; that is cancer that has spread or reoccurred, unfortunately have a higher chance of experiencing the pain within cancer.
Cancer treatments also take a toll on pain towards the patient. Chemotherapy, radiation, and also surgery are some sources of cancer pain. Cancer surgery usually results in painful long sessions that often take time to recover. Burning sensations and sometimes painful scars are left behind after radial treatments. If undergoing chemotherapy, painful side effects may include mouth sores, diarrhea, and even damaging to the nerves. Diet and nutrition are one of many ways to cope with pain. Medical doctors and physicians have pondered on why people suffer from pain.
The solution to their problems is the one answer that have been ignored; simple diet and nutrition. Our bodies are capable of healing and repairing itself when given the opportunity to do so (Harvey Diamond, 2005). A struggle for most people in our world today is learning how to cope pain. Such struggle can result in performance at work. Not being able to cope can affect not only your career but also your personal life as in your family and friends. Even those who have long been cured from an illness still struggle with pain.
Physical and psychological treatment can be done to help those in chronic pain such as heat and ice. This method consists of either using hot towels or cold packages over the area of pain. Though it does not make the pain magically disappear, it does relieve pain for hours. Acupuncture is an ancient eastern form of pain relief some still use today. The needles are carefully placed into nerve endings; releasing endorphins from the nerves. Like acupuncture; massage therapy helps enhance blood flow throughout the body.
Loosening knots in the muscles that create the body to become tense and are now at ease. There are many ways to cope with pain without the usage of drugs and surgeries.
References Benjamin, B. , Lahey, (2009). Sensation and Perception, Psychology an introduction Timothy Moynihan, (2010). Cancer Pain: Relief is possible. Retrieved from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/cancer-pain/CA00021 Harvey Diamond, (2005). Methods of Dealing with pain. Retrieved from http://www. bestsyndication. com/2005/A-H/DIAMOND-Harvey/080905-Pain-free-life. htm


Essay on Developmental and Social psychology?

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Development Psychology
This essay will explain how the cognitive development theory and psychoanalytic theory explain personality. There are a variety of different research methods that are used when conducting psychological research, yet it remains arguable which method has proven the best. Still, the two main types that are frequently being used are cross-sectional research and longitudinal research. Cross-sectional research involves analysing different groups of people from different ages and then reaching a conclusion. Longitudinal research involves studying the same group of people over a long period of time so that changes made over time can be properly analysed. Arguably, longitudinal research appears to be the most applicable method in gathering data on development psychology as the changes in individual personalities can be monitored appropriately.

Development psychology is a scientific study which provides an explanation as to why changes occur within human beings. Whilst development psychology was previously aimed at children, it now looks at the behavioural changes of adults so that a better understanding of individual development can be made. Aristotle used the word ‘psyche’ to describe the structure (sole) of the human body and thus believed that the psyche “controlled reproduction, movement and perception” (Honderich, 1995, p. 727). He believed that observation was the essence of life and that in order to understand anything; individuals first had to observe, listen and then think about it. Aristotle’s notion was thus an extension of Plato’s work who had previously asserted that the human mind has all the knowledge it needs. He believed that the mind had three different parts (Tripartite Mind) and that in order to achieve a healthy mind; each part was to be balanced equally (Stocks, 1915, p. 207). Over-reliance upon any of the parts is what he believes leads to the expression of personality (Shuttleworth, 2010, p. 1).
The nature/nurture debate is based upon the notion that individual behaviour is the result of either being inherited (nature) or acquired (nurture). However, whilst it is clear that characteristics such as hair, eye and skin colour have all been inherited, it is less clear whether an individual’s personality has been. McLeod (2007, p. 1) believes that “psychological characteristics and behavioral differences that emerge through infancy and childhood are the result of learning.” Therefore, he believes that personality depends upon how an individual has been brought up. Tomasic (2006, p. 202), on the other hand, believes that personality is both inherited and acquired: “personality is caused/influenced by the environment; personality is inherent in our genetic make-up; personality is a mix of both genetic and environmental influences.” Arguably, it is clear that the latter is more reflective of individual personalities in today’s society since changes within a person’s behaviour frequently occur. In effect, it seems as though an individual is born within a certain personality which changes over time as a result of environmental influences. Not all agree with this, however, and instead argue that children are born with a blank personality which is formed through social interaction.
This was recognised by John Locke who made it clear that all men are equal by nature and that “the bulk of the observed variation among individuals was due to environment” (Loehlin, 1982, p. 119). Jean-Jacques Rousseau supported the views of Locke although she believed that all children are innocent and good and that they simply become corrupted by society and all that is wrong within it (Lam et al, 2011, p. 5). Whilst this is similar to Locke’s views, he believed that children are manipulated into a form that is acceptable by society (Lam et al, 2011, p. 5). Therefore, whilst both views are similar, they differ in their perceptions of the new born child. The Minnesota Twin study which was conducted by Thomas J. Bouchard and began in 1979, however, demonstrated that identical twins separated at birth had remarkably similar personalities despite the fact that they had different upbringings (Bouchard et al, 1990, p. 223). In effect, this suggests that individual personalities are actually inherited, although certain traits can still be acquired. It is doubtful that this resolves the nature/nurture debate, nonetheless, since it has been said that “naturally, the researchers paid special attention to their similarities and may have come to mythologize the twins relationship.” Accordingly, the Minnesota study cannot be relied upon and it seems as though personality is actually a mix of both nature and nurture.
Psychoanalytical Theory
Sigmund Freud believes that individual personalities are created by the unconscious mind and that “human beings are driven by powerful biological urges that must be satisfied (Shaffer, 1996, p. 39). These urges are known as Eros which is the life instinct and Thanatos which is the death instinct. Eros ensure that activities are conducted which help to sustain life such as breathing and eating, whilst Thanatos is the aggressive instinct which promotes destruction such as fighting and murder. Nevertheless, the kind of urges in which Freud refers to are those which are undesirable and selfish since he argues that “human beings have basic sexual and aggressive instincts which must be served; yet society dictates that many of these needs are undesirable and must be restrained” (Shaffer, 1996, p. 39). Therefore, whilst all children are born with certain instincts, it is evident that these can be managed appropriately by their parents who help to shape their personality traits. Essentially, the first few years of a child’s life thereby “play a major role in shaping their conduct and character” (Shaffer, 1996, p. 39).
According to Freud, there are three different components of an individual’s personality which are the id, the ego and the superego. The id is the only component that is present at birth and helps to satisfy natural inborn instincts. The ego is the conscious component of the personality which reflects a child’s ability to learn and the superego component is the final component which is developed from the moral values and standards of a child’s parents. This latter component is thus the most important element of personality as it enables individuals to act in a sociably acceptable way by restraining the id’s undesirable impulses. Nevertheless, although Freud believes that sex is the most important stages of development, not all agree that young children are actually sexual beings and instead believe that Freud’s studies are inaccurate. Thus, Freud based most of his findings on a small number of emotionally disturbed adults (Crews, 1996, p. 63) which cannot be relied upon.
Cognitive Theory
Cognitive theories relate to the development of an individual’s thought process which helps us to understand and adapt to society. The cognitive process is thus considered to be the “processes or faculties by which knowledge is acquired and manipulated.” (Bjorklund, 2011, p. 3). Cognitive behaviour is therefore a reflection of the developing mind and is unobservable. Jean Piaget is one of the main cognitive theorists who helped to shape the way people think about children and made it clear that all human beings develop their personalities through their own cognitive abilities. Accordingly, Piaget believed that intelligence was a basic life function and that “all intellectual activity is undertaken with one goal in mind: to produce a balanced, or harmonious relationship between one’s thought processes and the environment” (Kipp and Shaffer, 2012, p. 202). In effect, this theory demonstrates that children’s personalities develop from challenges which are not immediately understood. Hence, Piaget believed that imbalances exist between children’s modes of thinking and environment events which “prompt them to make mental adjustments that enable them to cope with puzzling new experiences and thereby restore cognitive equilibrium” (Kipp and Shaffer, 2012, p. 202). Cognitive theorists thereby argue that children simply adapt to the environment through their own cognitive abilities which ultimately shapes their personality.
Overall, there are clearly different views as to how an individual’s personality is shaped and although many argue that it is inherited, others disagree and believe that it is acquired from societal influences. Arguably, after reviewing both the cognitive development theory and the psychoanalytic theory it seems as though personality is in fact a mix of both nature and nurture. This is because, although children do have some traits that are inherited and exist within the unconscious mind, an individual’s thought process does actually develop from adaption. Accordingly, children are thus prompted to make mental adjustments that enable them to cope with puzzling experiences which widely influences their own personality.
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Social Psychology
Social influence happens when an individual’s behaviour is affected by external factors such as conformity, compliance and obedience, bystander intervention, social loathing and social facilitating. Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerald (1955, p. 629) thus made it clear that social influence is the result of two psychological needs; informational social influence and normative social influence which are the need to be right and the need to be liked. Arguably, social influence thereby refers to the effect in which individuals have upon one another and can happen intentionally or unintentionally as a result of the way in which the person who has been influenced perceives themselves (Changing Minds, 2002, p. 1).
Concepts of Social Influence
Conformity, compliance and obedience are the three main areas of social influence and often occur simultaneously. This is because, “those that conform tend to be obedient and compliant” (Constable et al, 2002, p. 1). Nevertheless, whilst conformity refers to the changes an individual makes so that they can be more like others, compliance relates to the changes an individual makes as a result of being asked. Furthermore, obedience refers to the process of obeying an order that has been made and often means that the individual has no choice but to make the changes unlike the former two social influences where the individual does have a choice. Coercion is the strongest form of social influences, nonetheless, since this forces and individual to change their behaviour even though they are reluctant to do so. Coercion is thereby the least common form of social influence since real feelings may not actually be changed. Hence, where social influence occurs voluntarily, it is evident that the individual will have made the changes themselves and therefore changes the way they feel about a particular situation.
This was recognised by Rashotte who pointed out that; “social influence is the process by which individuals make real changes to their feelings and behaviours as a result of interaction with others who are perceived to be similar, desirable or expert.” In effect, Rashotte (1999, p. 4426) does not believe that social influences also consists of compliance and obedience because of the fact that individuals do not have a choice but to make the changes required from them. Because of this, it is unlikely that the feelings of an individual will actually be changed if they have been forced to make the transformation. It is questionable whether these views are accurate, nonetheless, since it has been put by Perloff (2012, p. 18); “social influence – coercion and persuasion – exerts powerful, not always positive, effects on human behaviour.” Therefore, even if the social influence has resulted involuntary, this does not indicate that social influence has not taken place. Instead, a more powerful form of change has been exerted which has had a significant impact upon human behaviour.
Social facilitating is the process whereby individuals improve their behaviours when other people are watching. Therefore, whenever a person is undertaking a task, it is likely that they will do better at that task if other people are watching as they will alter their behaviour so that they can impress the onlookers. This is a mild but common form of social influence and illustrates that people can be affected by the mere presence of others. This can, however, be real, imagined or implied and was first recognised by Norman Triplett in 1898 when he conducted a study on the speed record of cyclists. It was concluded by Triplett that the speed of cyclists was faster when racing against each other than it was when racing against time alone (McLeod, 2011, p. 1). Social facilitating does depend on the individual concerned, nonetheless, because the behaviour will not always be improved and in some cases, the quality of the individuals performance may be impaired (Aiello, 2001, p. 163).
Social loafing is similar to social facilitation, yet whilst social facilitation tends to improve an individual’s performance, social loafing tends to slow someone down and prevents them from working as hard. Nevertheless, social loafing does not occur when being watched by others but when working in a group with others since it is felt that many individuals work harder when they are alone than when they are in a group. This is also known as the free-rider theory which means that “self interested individuals lack incentives to contribute voluntarily to the provision of public goods, or to reveal their true valuations of such goods” (Asch and Gigliotti, 1991, p. 33). An example of social loathing was provided in a study conducted on individuals involved in a tug-of-war game. Here, it was found that “people playing tug-of-war while blindfolded pulled harder if they thought they were competing alone. When they thought others were on their team, they made less of an effort” (Coon and Mitterer, 2008, p. 541).
Perspectives and Methods of Research
It is evident that social influence arises because of a number of different influential factors and the only way this can be identified is by undertaking a number of different activities involving humans. This enables a determination to be made as to whether the true feelings of the individuals involved have been influenced. Nevertheless, because of the complex nature scientific studies have, it is questionable whether the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of human beings can be accurately measured through empirical methods of investigation. This is because, it has been argued by Thomas Kuhn (1970, p. 4) that empirical methods of investigation are “influenced by prior beliefs and experiences.” Essentially, it could therefore be said that the studies conducted would have produced different results if they were undertaken by a different scientist.
Overall, there are a number of different concepts of social influence which appear to have been proven by empirical methods of investigation. These include conformity, compliance and obedience, bystander intervention, social loathing and social facilitating and can occur voluntary or involuntary. Social influence thus arises as a result of two human needs which are the need to be right and the need to be liked and happen depending upon the ways in which the individual perceives themselves. In proving these different concepts, a number of scientific studies have been carried out which all aim to demonstrate how social influence affects the changes of human behaviour. Nevertheless, although these methods have proven workable in explaining human behaviour, the accuracy of these methods has been questioned. This is because; it is believed that different outcomes would be produced if a different person conducted the studies since past experiences and current knowledge are said to widely influence the tests that are being performed. Despite this, it is evident that changes to human behaviour frequently arise which is largely the result of the changes that are being made within society whether they are intentional or unintentional.
Aiello, J. R. (2001). Social Facilitation from Triplett to Electronic. Group Dynamics, Theory, Research and Practice. 5(3).
Asch, P. and Gigliotti, G. A. (1991). The Free-Rider Paradox: Theory, Evidence and Teaching. The Journal of Economic Education, 22(1).
Bjorklund, D. F. (2011). Children’s Thinking. Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc. 5th Edition.
Bouchard, T. J. Lykken, D. T. McGue, M. Segal, N. L. and Tellegen, A. (1990). Sources of Human Psychological Differences: The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. Science New Series, 250(4978).
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Crews, F. (1996). The Verdict on Freud. Psychological Science, 7(63).
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Kuhn, T. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago University Press. 2nd Edition.
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Tomasic, T. (2006). Personality: Nature vs. Nurture or Something in BetweenRetrieved 27 December, 2012, from


Multicultural Psychology

Multicultural Psychology Multicultural Psychology Multicultural psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes through multiple cultures. The focus of this field of psychology incorporates theories on culture-specific issues and behaviors. Study models can be used as comparisons in understanding ethnic identity in viewing similarities and differences of the structure of the culture. In recent years, the original concept of one size fits all psychology has changed to include multicultural psychology that focuses on specific cultures and uniqueness within the culture.
The study focuses on how a culture varies from other cultures to how they are similar. “It is apparent that the “old rules” in psychology have moved away from monoculture to a multicultural premise and that these “new rules” recognize both an appreciation of differences as well as an understanding of the inherent ambiguity and complexity in psychological practice” ( Pack-Brown & Williams, 2003). Defining Multicultural Psychology Multicultural psychology can be defined as “the systematic study of behavior, cognition, and affect in settings where people of different backgrounds interact” (McGraw-Hill, 2009).
The focus on multiculturalism started in the 1960s as minority issues became more prevalent in society, especially in the Anglo dominated countries such as North America. Multicultural was primarily defined in association to race or ethnicity. The focus has broadened to include age, gender, religion, sexual preferences, and social class. Much of the focus on multicultural issues was directed toward issues in society regarding equality; many were caused and generated by political biases, programs, and policies.

Nagayama Hall (2010) stated, “Multicultural psychology is the study of the influences of multiple cultures in a single social context on human behavior” (p. 8). Brief History of Multicultural Psychology The study on human behavior labeled as psychology, has been traced back as far as the Greeks and into the medieval period of history, studing language, human behavior, and various human traits. In the early 1800s Darwin’s theory focused on an explanation of the evolution of humans and focused on the transformation of mankind.
Throughout time numerous psychologists such as Freud, Kant, Mach, Hegel and Galton, to name a few, focused their studies on human behavior. The focus of these early psychologists’ studies relied primarily on a monoculture focus of human behavior. Cultural diversity has been overlooked for centuries and only in the past two decades has a stronger focus begun on how cultures vary from each other in their influences on human behavior currently are incorporating cultural trends. “During the 1980s, the percentage rate of articles in psychology on people of color remained at 3%.
There was a percentage increase in the 1990s but the percentage rate has remained at about 4. 5% throughout the 2000s” (Nagayama-Hall, 2010). Opinions on the reason for such low percentages primarily focus on the lack of cultural (diverse) backgrounds of the psychologists. In 2002, the American Psychological Association Council approved and released a document of guidelines titled “Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists” (APA, 2002, p. 1).
This document has provided a guideline for psychologists to refer to as the concepts of multicultural psychology continues to evolve and emerge into a specialized area of study in psychology. With APA guidelines in place more focus on the variety of cultures and the similarities and differences within cultural groups will create awareness of cultural diversity and increase educational efforts targeted toward a greater understanding of various ethnic groups. Rationale for the Establishment of a Subspecialty for Multicultural Psychology
Although ethnic diversity is growing in North America and in many other countries there is also needs to have a growth in psychologists trained on multicultural issues to expand the focus to a broader spectrum of study. The need to encourage and recruit individuals with diverse ethnic backgrounds into the field of psychology has become crucial and providing educational opportunities to support the development of the field of multicultural psychology needs to continue to support the future of psychology.
Many business organizations are expanding their focus to international levels that will increase a new level of human resources issues that will need to be considered and developed. With the development of international business along with cultural influences continuing to grow in the United States more multicultural research studies will be needed and the results recorded and published to maintain successful on various levels. Greater understandings of the variance in cultures need to be created and known by business professionals expanding their businesses abroad.
The needs for multicultural professionals are growing and psychological research will be vital on many levels. For example, many businesses are required through the guidelines instituted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to recruit a specific percentage of individuals from different ethnic backgrounds. The EEOC has placed guidelines when hiring and firing individuals and serves as a protection agency for possible issues and concerns of discrimination because of diversity or ethnic differences. “The U. S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information” (2010, EEOC). Through an improved focus on multicultural psychology, stronger guidelines can be set in place for education, the workforce, institutions . and society all that involve the interaction of a multitude of multicultural environmental backgrounds.
Nagayama Hall (2010) stated “Rather than ignoring, neglecting, or reacting to cultural diversity, as has been the tradition of mainstream psychology, multicultural psychology is proactive and is helping to shape the discourse on race, ethnicity, and culture” (p. 19). Now is the time to grow diversity and eliminate the “cookie cutter” approach to the field of psychology. With the growing number of ethnic groups from so many countries, the make-up of society is constantly changing. Schools, businesses and entire neighborhoods are continuously changing as more ethnic groups integrate into these areas.
The guidelines set forth by the APA provide psychologists strategies to work with society to educate and remove barriers that can come from the unfamiliar and lack of understanding of those individuals from different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. The concept of monoculture in psychology must be eliminated and replaced with an active focus on multicultural issues in psychology to continue to evolve within society on a personal and professional level. References About the EEOC: Overview. (2010). U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved on April 2010, from http://www. eeoc. gov/eeoc/index. fm Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists. American Psychological Association. (2002) Retrieved on April 14, 2010 from http://www. apapracticecentral. org/ce/guidelines/multicultural. pdf Nagayama Hall, G. C. (2010). Multicultural Psychology (2nd ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Pack-Brown, S. & Williams, C. Ethics is a multicultural context. (2003). Psych Board. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications What Is Multicultural Psychology? (2009) Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://highered. mcgraw-hill. com/sites/dl/free/007338271x/591940/Chapter1. pdf


Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology

Culture plays an important part in one’s life as it relates to the field of psychology. Culture enables one to define him or herself and differ from one to another, and helps one survive. Culture facilitates self-expression, through language, appearance, and behavior. Culture exists everywhere and is a product of one’s environment. The significance of culture and its influence by oneself and others will be explained in this paper. In addition, the role of critical thinking in cross-cultural psychology and the scientific method involved with cross-cultural research will be addressed, and defined.
Definition of Cultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology Culture is learned, passed down, from generation to generation and strongly influences individual behavior. It is an existing element in one’s environment, shaped by oneself and many others. Culture either shapes or influences one and is what makes one human. Psychology is the study of human behavior and performance; therefore, it is vital that the cultural and cross-cultural aspects are considered in determining the cause of one’s actions.
Behavior is affected by sources both biological and environmental in nature but these do not entirely explain human behavior. There must be an acknowledgement of the social-cultural conditions, in which behavior occurs. Thus, cultural psychology looks to identify the link that between culture and psychology. This recognition allows one to perceive that cognitive operations are variable products occurring between culture and oneself in the kind of environment by which one is surrounded (Segal, Dasen, Berry & Poortinga, 1999). Culture is two-fold, either bringing people together or pulling people apart.

This newer discipline of cross-cultural psychology, acknowledges important factors and considers many cultures when defining the actions and behaviors of individuals. Culture should be not confused with society, race, and ethnicity. Though these factors contribute to individualism, they differ from culture itself. For example, culture is a shared experience within a group and leads to specific behaviors among the group, whereas society is made of people. Cross-cultural psychology uses various approaches to facilitate one’s understanding of how human behavior varies in diverse cultural settings.
These include evolutionary, sociological, and ecocultural. The evolutionary approach, for instance, considers biological factors contributing to one’s behavior whereas the ecocultural approach considers that a person cannot be acknowledged without considering one’s environment (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). The Relationship between Cultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology Cultural psychology interfaces with other disciplines, including philosophy, and anthropology. While other disciplines permit a wider perspective, cultural psychology focuses solely on how one’s culture affects his or her behavior and how this connection comes into existence.
G Cultural psychology is aware that human energy cannot be solely explicated by other factors including one’s genetic predispositions. Instead, cultural psychology sees one’s mind and culture forming a unity that should be not separated when trying to explain behavior. On the other hand, cross-cultural psychology, despite interfacing with other fields such as anthropology and history, prefers to compare various cultures against each other while discovering more about differences and similarities and their effect on humanity.
Both disciplines clearly consider the aspects of culture; therefore, their starting points do not differ much. However, they also deviate from each other in that cultural psychology is mostly concerned with understanding the relationship one has with a culture, whereas cross-cultural psychology is mainly interested in the comparison of various cultures (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). The Role of Critical Thinking in Cross-Cultural Psychology When used correctly, critical thinking can, and will benefit one in countless ways.
Life, just as humanity itself, is very complex and at times, difficult to understand. Being able to go through life with a certain purpose and sense, and being able to understand human nature is not an easy task, often requiring specific knowledge and experience in doing so. Critical thinking provides the necessary tools to enable one to navigate through the fog of life with the determined intent. However, critical thinking is not something one is born with; rather, it is something that needs to be learned and trained.
Thinking abstractly, being able to decipher problematic puzzles, coordinating thoughts accurately and intentionally, and being able to communicate succinctly require the use of critical thinking. Thinking critically means asking the right questions and solving problems. If one is unskilled and unqualified using the tools provided by critical thinking, then one most likely is not developing to his or her fullest. Part of being able to apply critical thinking also means one can learn, and learn even more.
Various characteristics describe a critical thinker and are, for instance, the correct use of language, the ability of organizing, and patience when making vital decisions (Hunter, 2009). All these above mentioned factors matter to the field of cross-cultural psychology. For example, language can be at times very tricky and therefore, lead to discrimination. The correct translation is very significant so that one can understand someone else in the way he or she wants to be comprehended. However, interlingual rendition is not easy and translating one word to another does not entirely mean the purpose of the word used is understood correctly.
One clearly must know that language can be applied in many ways and can traumatize, be incontrovertible, and inspiring. Another way critical thinking supports cross-cultural psychology is in the research performed by this discipline. Being able to overlook biases, leave out emotions, chose right from wrong, and acknowledge the validity and reliability of research requires critical thinking skills. In addition, critical thinking becomes a necessity whenever a comparison is made of different groups and therefore cultures.
These are just few of many examples of how critical thinking helps cross-cultural psychology. Without it, one’s understanding of how culture affects diverse behaviors could become affected leading to wrong impressions (Segal, Dasen, Berry & Poortinga, 1999). Methodology Associated with Cross-Cultural Research Research is very significant to the field of cross-cultural psychology. Without the implementation of research, the subjects appealing to cross-cultural psychology would mainly rely on assumptions. Cross-cultural psychologists are very interested in examining commonalities between cultures.
He or she is occupied with how they interact with each other resulting in certain behaviors and psychologists do so by describing, explaining, foretelling, and managing. Doing research means carrying out a scientific investigation and using suitable methods. Cross-cultural psychology uses a research methodology that can be divided further into two subcategories, the quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative research, which is done through observation, measures human behavior by utilizing the mode, the median, and the mean (central tendency).
In this process, four different scales can be used to measure, which are nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio. Alternatively, qualitative research is preferably done in unconditioned settings, also referred to natural settings. This kind of research method is chosen when measuring variables are impossible to collect, measurement tools are not on hand, and when specific scales cannot be read. Further, there are two different strategies, the application-oriented strategy and the comparativist strategy, from which a researcher can chose when conducting research.
In addition, a researcher can also utilize and benefit from various strategies to collect samples such as through convenience, systematic, or random sampling (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). The psychological methods available to a cross-cultural psychologist to investigate are “observation (naturalistic and laboratory), survey (direct and indirect), experimental studies (independent and dependent variables), content-analysis, psychobiography, meta-analysis, focus-group method” (Shiraev & Levy, 2010, pp. 35-40). When conducting cross-cultural studies, certain obstacles may appear.
For instance, language can create additional problems when research is done; therefore, the correct translation is essential. The researcher should be capable of translating a specific method as authentically as possible. In addition, a good researcher should also pay attention when comparing two phenomena (acknowledge similarities) and avoid biases of generalization at all times (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Conclusion Because culture plays such an important part in one’s life, it is crucial to acknowledge it when determining the causes of one’s behavior.
Culture is something appearing at all times and is manmade. Clearly, cultural and cross-cultural psychologies are two essential disciplines, which help one comprehend the affect culture has on an individual and his or her environment. Through cultural psychology, one can see the connection between culture, psychology, and therefore, behavior. Existing parallel to cultural psychology, cross-cultural psychology helps one acknowledge the differences and similarities existing between cultures and the affect they have on one’s action. Without it, one will never entirely understand the complex nature of humanity.