Assignment: Limitations of general psychology

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Assignment: Limitations of general psychology

Assignment: Limitations of general psychology

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Scholars criticize general psychology as an example of unilateral globalization that has been imposed in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Oceania, and on peoples native to North America (Azuma, 1984; Enriquez, 1993; Kim & Berry, 1993; Nsamenang, 1995; Sánchez-Sosa, in press; Sinha, 1997; Yang, 2000; Yang, Hwang, & Yang, 2005; see , this volume, on psychology in developing countries). Indigenous psychologists argue that each culture should be understood from its own frame of reference, including its own ecological, historical, philosophical, and religious context. They also point out that general psychology has ignored the rich academic and cultural traditions of non-Western countries that could have enriched and advanced the field. Indigenous psychologists reject the unilateral imposition of U.S. psychology and argue for the adoption of the enlightened approach in which psychological knowledge is generated based on dialogue, understanding, and scientific rigor (Kim & Berry, 1993; Kim, Yang, & Hwang, 2006).

Although psychological theories have been assumed to be objective, value-free, and universal, they are criticized for being limited in external validity (Kim & Berry, 1993; Shweder, 1991; see , this volume, for a critique of the assumptions underlying Western psychology). Many scholars point out that psychological theories reflect the values, goals, and issues of the United States and Western Europe, and they are not universal (Azuma, 1984; Kim & Berry, 1993; Sinha, 1997). In Canada, Berry (1974) was critical of the culture-bound and culture-blind nature of psychology. In France, Moscovici (1972) pointed out that U.S. psychologists adopted “for its themes of research and for the contents of its theories, the issues of its own society” (p. 19). Even in the United States, psychologists recognize that psychological theories reflect the cultural values and goals of the United States (Koch & Leary, 1985; Sampson, 1977).

Scholars have pointed out the need to go beyond the focus on intra-individual processes and systematically analyze phenomena that are influenced by context, relationship, society, and culture (Azuma, 1984; Ho, 1986; Sinha, 1997; Yang, 2000; Yang et al., 2005). Psychologists around the world have contributed to the development of indigenous psychology and expansion of the domain and methodology of psychological research (see , this volume, for a discussion of qualitative research methods).  lists psychologists who have contributed to the development of indigenous knowledge and to the theoretical, methodological, and empirical advancement of psychology.

Other scholars have questioned the internal validity of general psychology (Bandura, 1997; Harré, 1999; Kim, 1999; Koch & Leary, 1985). Psychology modeled after Newtonian physics was an attempt to develop objective, abstract, and universal theories, and it excluded the subjective aspects of human functioning (i.e., consciousness, agency, meaning, and beliefs). Although the concepts of agency and consciousness were central in theories developed by Wilhelm Wundt and William James, subsequent theorists have expunged them. Although psychology was founded and developed in Europe, it became indigenized and institutionalized in the United States (Kim & Park, 2005; Koch & Leary, 1985).

TABLE 5.1 Contributors to Indigenous Psychology

Researcher Nationality Topic
John Adair Canada Process of indigenization
Carl Marin Allwood Sweden Meta-analysis
Hiroshi Azuma Japan Socialization, child development, educational achievement
John Berry Canada Intelligence, ecological influence
Pawel Boski Poland Humanist values
Sang-Chin Choi Korea Indigenous concepts
Pierre Dasen Switzerland Cognitive development, intelligence
Padmal de Silva United Kingdom Buddhist psychology
Rogélio Díaz-Gurrero Mexico Ethnopsychology, personality
Rolando Díaz-Loving Mexico Ethnopsychology, conception of the self
Michale Durojaiye Nigeria Social intelligence
Carolyn Pope Edwards United States Parental ethnotheories
Lutz Eckensberger Germany Moral development
Virligio Enriquez Philppines Language, indigenous concepts
James Georgas Greece Ecological psychology, family
Heidi Fung Taiwan Child development
David Ho Hong Kong Child development, counseling, methodological relationalism
Kwang-Kuo Hwang Taiwan Confucianism, relationalism
Denise Jodelet France Social representation of body and self
Cidem Kaitc¸ibas¸i Turkey Socialization and parent-child relationship
Boris Lomov Russia Physiological psychology
Ramesh Mishra India Indigenous cognition
Bame Nsamenang Cameroon Child development
Young-Shin Park Korea Achievement, delinquency, quality of life
Kai-Ping Peng United States Taoist thought
Rogelia Pe-Pua Australia Indigenous methodology
José Miguel Salazer Venezuela National identity
Durganand Sinha India Hindu philosophy
J. B. P. Sinha India Leadership
Joseph Trimble United States Mental health, ethnic identity of Native peoples
Susumu Yamaguchi Japan Attachment, concept of control, indigenous concepts
Chung-Fang Yang Hong Kong Chinese conception of the self
Kuo-Shu Yang Taiwan Personality
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