General Question

orlando's avatar

Are social psychology findings transcultural?

Asked by orlando (624 points ) November 8th, 2012

Are the general laws that govern the relationships between individuals and the society they belong to trans-cultural—that is valid in each and every culture on the planet?

That is can we extrapolate what we find about human behavior through social psychology to all human societies throughout history and location?

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6 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

No. The individual’s relationship to society is quite culturally specific. A Japanese person has a much more subsidiary role than an American. A person in India, despite attempts to suppress it, has a different status depending on caste. Americans are more individualistic.

Lightlyseared's avatar

So there are some universals – we like to belong to a group, we tend to form hierarchies but the fine details vary tremendously. To take @zenvelo example to the extreme findings from research carried out on New Yorkers might not even relate much to people in LA.

Jeruba's avatar

And people in New York and Los Angeles might relate to one another much better than any of them relates to people in a small town in Montana, Kansas, or Alabama.

whitenoise's avatar

When social psychology studies are done properly, it will address cross cultural validity and mention that somewhere.

If you are interested in cross cultural differences, look into the research bij Gerard Hofstede. Very interesting.

bolwerk's avatar

Probably sometimes. Usually the way to do that is to do a study in one culture, and then in another. Later you do a meta-analysis to compare studies and see.

wundayatta's avatar

My guess is that some are and some aren’t. As a general rule, people find what they are looking for. People looking for similarities will find similarities. People looking for differences will find differences. It all depends on your mind frame.

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