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what is cross cultural psychology

Cross-cultural psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes, including both their variability and invariance, under diverse cultural conditions. Through expanding research methodologies to recognize cultural variance in behavior, language, and meaning it seeks to extend and develop psychology. Since psychology as an academic discipline was developed largely in North America and Europe, some psychologists became concerned that constructs accepted as universal were not as invariant as previously assumed, especially since many attempts to replicate notable experiments in other cultures had varying success. Since there are questions as to whether theories dealing with central themes, such as affect, cognition, conceptions of the self, and issues such as psychopathology, anxiety, and depression, may lack external validity when “exported” to other cultural contexts, cross-cultural psychology re-examines them using methodologies designed to factor in cultural differences so as to account for cultural variance

Although some critics have pointed to methodological flaws in cross-cultural psychological research and claim that serious shortcomings in the theoretical and methodological bases used impede rather than help the scientific search for universal principles in psychology, cross-cultural psychologists are turning more to the study of how differences (variance) occur, rather than searching for universals in the style of physics or chemistry