research, thereby to encourage much-needed cross-cultural empirical work in this area.


Cultural psychology is an approach to human and social sciences that has been inspired by the realization that "culture and the psyche make each other up" (Shweder, 1991). Culture is a package of meanings that are embodied in such human artifacts as icons, behavioral routines, conventions, social institutions, and political systems that as a whole constitute daily reality. These human artifacts and associated meanings are both inside and outside a person. On one hand, they are outside the person in that they, as a whole, define the external, "brutal" reality with which he or she has to cope, control, or adjust to. On the other hand, they are inside the person in that they are constantly reproduced and reconstituted by the collective actions of many individuals in the same society. Moreover, they are represented at least in part in both the declarative and the procedural knowledge of each individual. Psychological processes and structures are configured in such a way that the engagement of these processes and structures reproduces the cultural systems of artifacts. The primary mission of cultural psychology is to analyze the processes by which psyches and cultures construct each other, elucidating how cultures create and support psychological processes, and how these psychological tendencies in turn support, reproduce, and sometimes change the cultural systems (Fiske et al., 1998; Markus et al., 1996).

The cultural psychological perspective has been motivated by the emergence of findings and theories in the past decade that alert researchers in many behavioral and social science disciplines to the cultural specificity of some of the fundamental assumptions and phenomena of the respective fields. In social, personality, and developmental psychology, for example, a great many "anomalies" have been discovered in cultures outside North America: verbs are acquired before nouns by infants in Mandarin China (Tardif, 1996); Japanese self-criticize without any trace of depression (Kitayama et al., 1997); Chinese are often persuaded quite effectively by arguments that defy the fundamental premise of logical consistency (such as "losing is winning"; Peng and Nisbett, 1999); the fundamental attribution error fails to occur in India (Miller, 1984), China (Morris and Peng, 1994), and Japan (see below for detail); and the Japanese don't seem to engage in dissonance reduction (Heine and Lehman, 1997). Initial discoveries of such anomalies have prompted many theorists to raise questions about some of the assumptions hidden in the historical development of the field itself, not the least important of which is the assumption of a "bounded, independent person" as the "natural" unit of analysis in social, personality, cognitive, and developmental psychology (e.g., Cole, 1996; Geertz, 1973; Gergen, 1993; Markus and Kitayama, 1991;

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