Cross-Cultural Psychology

Universidad de Málaga

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Cross-Cultural Psychology

  • Host University

    Universidad de Málaga

  • Location

    Málaga, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Intercultural Communications, International Studies, Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    1. Introduction

    Society is becoming more and more interconnected and our role as social beings is to understand the viewpoints, emotions, and behaviours of individuals from other cultures as well as gain awareness of the forces, beliefs and motivations underlying this behaviour. Although the field of Psychology has tended to focus on individuals from Nort h America or Western Europe, recent findings of cross-cultural research in psychology reveal that psychological processes, previously interpreted as universal, are in fact culture-bound.

    In this course, students will be introduced to theoretical and empirical studies on the role of culture in human behavior, reflect on cross-cultural transitions and their own challenges in a foreign culture; finally, students shall integrate these experiences and newly acquired knowledge into culturally diverse working contexts.

    2. Aims

    By the end of this course, students are expected to:

    ? Understand and engage with central debates in the field of Cross-Cultural Psychology

    ? Use basic terms and concepts central to this field

    ? Adopt a critical approach to intercultural relations, drawing upon both primary and secondary sources

    ? Apply cross-cultural theories and hypotheses to their own life experiences

    ? Gain awareness of their cross-cultural responses and mediation strategies

    ? Analyse and understand the meaning of culturally-embedded messages in various contexts

    ? Integrate their cross-cultural skills into their personal and professional identities

    3. Syllabus


    I. What is cross-cultural psychology?

    II. Themes of debate: Culture as internal or external; relativism-universalism;
    organisation of cultural differences. III. Designing cross-cultural research

    I. Individual development (1): Infancy and Childhood

    II. Individual development (2): Adolescence and Adulthood

    III. Social behaviour: Culture as a socio-psychological construct.


    I. Personality Traits and the Five-Factor Model (McCrae & John, 1992): Neuroticism
    (N), Extraversion (E), Openness to Experience (O), Agreeableness (A), and

    II. Conscientiousness (C).

    The Personality Profiles of Cultures
    III. Non-Western concepts: Ubuntu (Africa), Amae (Japan).

    I. General intelligence.

    II. Cognition styles. Cognition East and West. III. Emotion and Language. Facial expressions.

    I. Linguistic relativity: coding, categorization, and spatial orientation. II. The concept of universality in the linguistic context.
    III. Patterns and picture: visual illusions and depth perception. IV. Face recognition across ethnic groups.

    I. Cultural Anthropology: conception of culture, ethnography, cognitive anthropology, and religion.

    II. Evolutionary Biology: natural/sexual selection, adaptation, ethology. III. Cultural transmission.

    I. Intercultural strategies.

    II. Multiculturalism: policies, ideology, and hypothesis.


    I. Intercultural Communication: Problems and theories. II. Sojourners: adjustments and personality.
    III. Intercultural competence.

    UNIT 9. WORK, ORGANIZATIONS, AND HEALTH I. Organisational structure and culture. Work values. II. Leadership styles and decision-making.

    III. Variables in the working context: motivation and job satisfaction.

    IV. Psychopathologies across cultures. Psycotherapy: indigenous, cross-cultural, and multicultural. Health behaviour: Poverty, infant survival, HIV/AIDS, etc.


    4. Bibliography

    Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Breugelmans, S. M., Chasiotis, A., & Sam, D. L. (2011).
    Cross-cultural Psychology: Research and Applications, 3rd Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Matsumoto, D., & Sung Hwang, S. (2012) Culture and Emotion: The Integration of
    Biological and Cultural Contributions. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43: 91-
    Pedersen, P. B. (2002). The making of a culturally competent counselor. In W. J. Lonner, D.
    L. Dinnel, S. A. Hayes, & D. N. Sattler (Eds.), Online Readings in Psychology and Culture (Unit 10, Chapter 2), Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington USA. Retrieved from
    Szkudlarek, B. (2010). Reentry-A review of literature. International Journal of Intercultural
    Relations. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2009.06.006
    Triandis, H. (1999) Cross-cultural psychology. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 2: 127?

    Online Material

    Berry, J. W. (2011). Cross-cultural Psychology: Research and Applications, 3rd Edition.
    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    McCrae, R. R. (2002). Cross-cultural research on the five-factor model of personality. In W.
    J. Lonner, D. L. Dinnel, S. A. Hayes, & D. N. Sattler (Eds.), Online Readings in
    Psychology and Culture (Unit 6, Chapter 1), Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington USA.

    5. Assessment

    5.1 Attendance and participation (20%)

    Attendance is obligatory. More than 20% of unexcused absence from class will endanger an officially certified completion of the course (grading + certificate). Medical absences are excused with the prompt receipt of proper documentation. It is expected that students arrive to class on time and that they return promptly to class after any given class break. Tardiness is figured into the absence policy.
    Students are required to be involved in class activities. They are expected to show their preparation by participating in discussions, by asking relevant questions, being critical

    and analytical with the contents presented in class as well as by sharing their ideas and
    opinions. In class the student is required to maintain a polite demeanor always and under every circumstance. Students are asked
    ? not to eat in class
    ? to put their cell phones on silence
    ? not to use laptops in class (Exception: class presentations or any other project that would require such material)

    5.2 Course Assignments (80%)

    5.2.1 Projects, essays or written tasks (30%)

    Each student will be responsible for two essays; in the first essay, students have the option to do it in pairs, whereas in the second essay, students will have to do it individually. Moreover, students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of key concepts related to the subject, provide clear arguments in response to their chosen essay topic, and support those arguments with relevant course readings. Regarding formatting style, essays should be typed, double- spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11") with 1" margins on all sides, in 12 pt. Times New Roman font. (Further formatting specifications will be addressed in class).

    5.2.3 Midterm Exam and Final Exam (50%)

    Both midterm* and final exams will consist of 15 questions, out of which the students must choose 10 to answer. The answer length for each question ranges from 5 to 6 lines; students will be asked to provide answers using fully developed sentences, eloquent and clear language. Each question has the value of 1 point.

    *Exam questions will only relate to those units seen in class up until the exam date.

    Midterm Exam Date: TBD
    Final Exam Date: TBD

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.


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