Cross-Cultural Psychology: Taking People, Contexts, and Situations Seriously

Heidi Keller

in The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396430
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Cross-Cultural Psychology: Taking People, Contexts, and Situations Seriously


This chapter explores the role of culture for human psychology. First, the history of this relationship is briefly outlined. The early conceptualizations were characterized by a holistic understanding and methodological plurality. This wisdom, however, was ignored for much of twentieth century psychology, when different perspectives with different ideological underpinnings prevailed—notably, cross-cultural approaches, cultural approaches, and indigenous approaches. Recently the field has opened again, setting the stage for the development of integrative views. Different challenges for the future are formulated. The careful conceptualization and definition of culture for empirical studies, diverting from the practice of comparing the needs of citizens of different countries is a necessity. An integrated conception of culture and biology is an inevitable next step. The contents of cultural models need to be considered. Finally, a developmental perspective on psychological phenomena is crucial. Methodological openness and plurality of approaches is needed for the empirical realization. It is concluded that psychology in general needs to be culture-inclusive to overcome the sole representation of a minority of the human population.

Keywords: völkerpsychologie; cultural; indigenous; socio-demographic characteristics; autonomy; relatedness; developmental tasks; evolutionary approaches; mixed methods

Article.  10519 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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