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This course critically examines one of the most fundamental assumptions of Psychology; that is, that people are basically the same throughout the world in the ways that they think, feel, learn and maintain a sense of themselves. Sure enough, Psychology recognizes that there are some cultural differences, some quite pronounced, but psychology is the science that reaches the basic processing mechanism (the mind or "psyche") underlying this cultural veneer. Cultural experience might be regarded as the superficial covering of a universal human mind whose operations would soon be disclosed by, and as, "General Psychology". However, cultural psychologists are not so sure that this kind of "general Psychology" is either accurate or desirable, and they may have good cause. Even if we confine ourselves to personality and social psychology it is reckoned that over ninety per cent of psychological "research" comes from the USA. Add Europe, and very little psychology emanates from non-Western sources. Furthermore, the vast majority of that American research has been focused on student psychology undergraduate populations who can hardly be reckoned to be representative of even the American population as a whole. Psychology's database has not been informed by a wide variety of human subjects. Can its "findings" then be applied to non-Western cultures or is it itself nothing other than a specifically American/European cultural behavior? Cultural psychology seriously questions the universalism that psychology as a "science" seems to presuppose rather than demonstrate. This course examines the degree to which cultural psychology has been successful in questioning this assumption and the extent to which its own research has been successful in establishing that different cultural experiences lead to fundamentally different ways of thinking, emoting and learning. The first half of this course will look at the ways that the fundamental concepts of psychology such as the self and personality might themselves be cultural creations rather than "scientific discoveries." The other half of the course will examine the way that such concepts (or their alternatives) function in non-Western cultures.
Prerequisites: Introductory level courses in psychology and/or human development.
This course fully meets the General Education requirement in Other World Civilizations.
This online course is offered through the Center for Distance Learning. You can take this as an individual course or as part of an online degree program, with term starts in March, May, September, November and January. View current term offerings and all online courses. Click here to register for online courses.
Other Areas: The Arts | Business, Management & Economics | Community & Human Services | Communications, Humanities & Cultural Studies | Educational Studies | Historical Studies | Human Development | Labor Studies | Nursing | Science, Math & Technology | Social Theory, Structure & Change
Meets General Education Requirement In: Other World Civilizations-Full
Term(s) Offered (Subject to Change) : Jan. May. Sep.
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