What is it about?

This article explicates the previous misrepresentations of the discipline of cultural psychology, and explains what cultural psychology really is (and how it differs from cross-cultural psychology).

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Why is it important?

The discipline of cultural psychology often gets confused with the discipline of cross-cultural psychology. However, these disciplines have distinct, fundamentally differing principal goals. Therefore, this explanation was needed.


When Hall, Yip, and Zárate (2016) suggested that cultural psychology focused on reporting differences between groups, they described comparative research conducted in other fields, including cross-cultural psychology. Cultural Psychology is a different discipline with methodological approaches reflecting its dissimilar goal, which is to highlight the cultural grounding of human psychological characteristics, and ultimately make culture central to psychology in general. When multicultural psychology considers, according to Hall et al., the mechanisms of culture’s influence on behavior, it treats culture the same way as cross-cultural psychology does. In contrast, cultural psychology goes beyond treating culture as an external variable when it proposes that culture and psyche are mutually constitutive. True psychology of the human experience must encompass world populations through research of the ways in which a) historically grounded socio-cultural contexts enable the distinct meaning systems that people construct, and b) these systems simultaneously guide the human formation of the environments.

Antonie Dvorakova
Palacky university, Olomouc

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This page is a summary of: The cultural psychology endeavor to make culture central to psychology: Comment on Hall et al. (2016)., American Psychologist, January 2016, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/amp0000053.
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