What is Cross-Cultural Psychology?
Cross-cultural psychology is a branch of psychology that involves human evolution and generational behavioral traits (traits that are passed down from generation to generation). Every culture has specific traits attached to it that is intrinsic in every member of it. For example, holidays like: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Kwanza, etc., are considered cultural traditions. Why? Well, because only certain cultures celebrate them. These cultural traditions are accepted by that particular community, in general. The values and traditions learned, within the cultures, are passed down from one generation to the next.
Cross-cultural psychology examines how values, customs, beliefs, and traditions, evolve from prior generations. They also examine how some values, traditions and beliefs, change, over time, while others remain the same (as their ancestors). The goal of this branch of psychology is to identify similar and differing behaviors, amongst various cultures, and to take an in-depth look at the ways that different cultures live and interact with one another. Cross-cultural psychology focuses on the following factors: life, family, education, and social interactions. If your interest has peaked, then continue reading to learn more about this fascinating branch of psychology.
What Does a Cross-Cultural Psychologist Do?
Cross-cultural psychologists invest the majority of their time and effort into examining and exploring various cultures. Why? Well, so that the can improve communication patterns and techniques, amongst individuals in differing cultures. The goal of cross-cultural psychologists is to create a better understanding between various cultures and societies, in an effort to strengthen tolerance, understanding, empathy and acceptability of people, who may be different then themselves.
Cross-cultural psychologists perform the following job duties on a regular basis:
- Studying human behavior and mental processes
- Exploring the changes, similarities, and differences, amongst various societal norms
- Discovering news ways to communicate
- Encouraging tolerance and understanding, amongst various cultures
- Using different stimuli to determine their effects on the community
- Addressing client/patient feelings of depression, anxiety, phobias, etc., that can arise, as a result of cultural or societal issues
- Exploring universal emotions and behaviors, amongst contradictory cultures and societies
Most cross-cultural psychologists work at research labs, colleges and universities, businesses and organizations, social service agencies, government organizations, private practices, or mental health facilities. A cross-cultural psychologist must be good at communicating with people from a variety of cultures. They must also be empathetic towards people and culture, different from their own. These psychologists also develop case studies to share with other organizations, and the general population, as a whole.
With a degree in cross-cultural psychology, one can seek employment as a researcher, policy developer or specialist, counselor, and human resources executive. The goal is to acquire jobs that utilize the research skills, expertise, and knowledge of the cross-cultural psychologist. These professionals must have good communication skills and be able to work effectively with diverse populations, without misunderstanding and/or conflicts.
What is the Employment Outlook for Cross-Cultural Psychologists?
As international trade continues, the need for cultural-cross psychology jobs may increase. Why? Because businesses, organizations, and people, in general, will want and need better ways to communicate and bounce ideas off one another. This rise will be attributed to the fact that the world is becoming more unified, through social network platforms and common cultural issues (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, poor economic conditions, low employment rate, poverty, etc.). In other words, the world is quickly becoming a “collective village.”
Cross-cultural psychologists that are proficient in various cultures (i.e. patterns, interactions, histories, etc.) may receive the most job opportunities. In addition, those with a doctorate, license, and extensive experience in the field may gain the “best” jobs. Businesses and organizations will need cross-cultural psychologists to promote better and more effective communication techniques. The goal of cross-cultural psychologists in the business environment is to help them provide products and services that consumers want and need.
How Much Does a Cross-Cultural Psychologist Make?
As of April 2015, according to Simply Hired, cross-cultural psychologists can expect to make about $58,000, per year, on average. However, this total depends on the location of the job, prior experience, training, education, licensure, and the industry.
What Degree is Required for a Cross-Cultural Psychologist?
To become a cross-cultural psychologist, one must earn a bachelor’s degree (B.S.), master’s degree (M.S.) and doctorate (Ph.D.) from accredited colleges and universities. It normally takes 4 years to earn a bachelor’s degree in a field of the person’s choice, 2.5 to 3.5 years to earn a master’s degree in psychology or a related field, and up to 7 years for a doctorate in psychology. A research paper (i.e. thesis or dissertation) is not required at the undergraduate level, however a thesis is required at the master’s level, and a dissertation is required at the doctoral level. An internship may or may not be required at the undergraduate or graduate level, but will most likely be required at the doctoral level.
A cross-cultural degree program may teach students how to identify various cultural patterns, traditions, beliefs, and customs. It may also teach students how to communicate with people from differing cultures (i.e. empathy and understanding). Lastly, one may also learn how to recognize signs of mental illness and psychological distress, and how to apply treatments that will be accepted in that particular culture. The goal of a cross-cultural psychology is to improve relations, amongst various cultures, improve communication, and increase tolerance between all people. Required courses may include: research methods, statistics, cultural diversity, sociology, psychology, lifespan development, etc.
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