Cross-Cultural Psychology is an interesting topic for a psychology research paper because of the controversy that surrounds the discipline. Paper Masters has written many papers on cross-cultural psychology and suggests the following interesting topics when exploring cross-cultural psychology:
- How much should sociological factors play into psychological research?
- Does research for one cultural group negate the results for another cultural group?
- Should psychological research be based on "universals" rather than cultural factors?
Cross-cultural psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes under various cultural condition. Many social scientists had become concerned that psychology largely developed as an academic discipline in North America, and that accepted universal constructs were invalid in other cultures. The International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) was founded in 1972.
The Cross-Cultural Psychology Field
The field of cross-cultural psychology was revolutionized in the 1970s by Geert Hofstede, who developed Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory while doing research for IBM. Hofstede is a Dutch social psychologist who founded the Personnel Research Department for IBM. His cultural dimensions theory describes the effects of a culture on the values of members of society and how they relate to behavior.
Cross-cultural psychology has been applied to clinical work as well to psychotherapy and counseling. These social scientists propose that it is necessary to understand a society's culture on its own terms rather than seeking universal human behaviors. Instead of being a separate branch of the field, cross-cultural psychology is more of a research methodology within psychology.
There are many critics of cross-cultural psychology who maintain that it contains serious methodological flaws and that it impedes the scientific search for universal principles. However, those working in cross-cultural psychology seek to make the discipline less ethnocentric.