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Cultural Psychology 4th Edition
Authors: by Steven J. Heine (Author)
Cultural psychology through a global lens The most contemporary and relevant introduction to the field, Cultural Psychology , Fourth Edition, is unmatched in both its presentation of current, global experimental research and its focus on helping students to think like cultural psychologists.
CONTENTS IN BRIEF
1 A Psychology for a Cultural Species 3
2 Culture and Human Nature 35
3 Cultural Evolution 71
4 Research Methods 117
5 Development and Socialization 159
6 Self and Personality 203
7 Living in Multicultural Worlds 249
8 Motivation 293
9 Cognition and Perception 335
10 Emotions 381
11 Attraction and Relationships 419
12 Morality and Religion 459
13 Physical Health 495
14 Mental Health 533
15 Organizations, Leadership, and Justice 567
My own quest to become a cultural psychologist began after college graduation. There I was with my BA degree in psychology, not knowing what to do with it. I moved to Japan in order to teach English in the small town of Obama (yes, it really was the town’s name), and to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I had been an attentive student in my psychology classes, and I had learned much about how people think. Imagine, then, my surprise upon moving to rural Japan and discovering that much of what I thought I understood about human nature didn’t seem to explain how my new friends and colleagues thought and behaved. I went through a series of cross-cultural misunderstandings and gaffes before I came to realize that my ideas about human nature were just plain wrong. Although they may have explained the nature of North Americans, they weren’t very useful outside of that cultural context.
This was interesting to me because from what I had learned in my psychology classes, people should think in the same ways everywhere. But in many ways, they don’t. That insight and those embarrassing cross-cultural misunderstandings led me down the path to becoming a cultural psychologist and eventually to writing this textbook.
Cultural psychology, as a field, is still a relatively new discipline, and it continues to produce striking evidence that challenges psychologists’ understanding of human nature. In contrast to much conventional wisdom, this field has been revealing that culture shapes how people’s minds operate—sometimes in profound ways. The past couple of decades have been an exciting time, as an abundance of research continues to demonstrate that culture is not just a thin veneer covering the universal human mind. Rather, this research has shown just how deeply cultural influences penetrate our psychology and shape the ways we think. The research underscores how human thoughts occur within cultural contexts and shows that different cultural contexts can lead to fundamentally different ways of thinking.
When I first started teaching cultural psychology, I greatly enjoyed teaching students about the exciting discoveries coming out of this new field. However, there wasn’t really an undergraduate textbook that adopted a cultural psychological perspective. Without a textbook, teaching a course in cultural psychology usually meant having students read the original journal articles describing these new ideas.
This made for stimulating classroom discussions, but it also meant that my courses were typically limited to small seminars for senior students. I discussed this problem with cultural psychologists at other universities, and many said they were in the same situation. The field had become a tremendously interesting and important discipline and had rapidly developed a rich theoretical and empirical foundation unique compared to other approaches that considered the influences of culture. But at that point, because there was no undergraduate textbook that could be used in large lecture classes, very few students were actually learning about the influence of culture on the way people think. I reluctantly came to the realization that the quickest way I could start teaching larger cultural psychology classes was to write a textbook myself. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, as at first, I failed to appreciate just how much new and significant research was being conducted. In fact, the first edition took me four years to complete. And even now, as we send the fourth edition to press, there is much new and fascinating work I wasn’t able to include in time for the deadline.
My goal was to write a book focused on what I have found most interesting about the field of cultural psychology. Toward this end, I have written the chapters around some provocative key questions with which cultural psychologists are still struggling.
For example, one theme that arises repeatedly throughout the book is this question:
How similar are the psychologies of people from different cultures? Human brains are basically the same everywhere, yet people’s experiences are vastly divergent, making this a difficult and important question to contemplate. Some other fundamental questions I address are: Where does culture come from? How are humans similar to and different from other animals? What are the many different ways to be human?
I have integrated as much cultural diversity into the topics discussed as possible. The text considers research findings from every populated continent, including many investigations of subsistence cultures around the world, as well as explorations of the variations among ethnic groups within countries. I also wrote the chapters to provide a strong emphasis on experimental research throughout, while also paying particular attention to observational studies and ethnographies. I believe it’s important to gain a sense of the various ways we can go about studying culture. I also wanted to highlight how culture underlies all aspects of human psychology, so I have attempted to explore the role of culture across many disciplines both within psychology (e.g., clinical, cognitive, developmental, social, and personality psychology), and outside psychology (e.g., anthropology, evolutionary biology, linguistics, philosophy, and sociology).
Finally, students will find many detailed examples throughout the book that show how cultural psychologists’ theories and research are relevant to their lives. Hopefully, the combination of these ingredients will yield an interesting and educational experience for readers.