Expanding the interpretive power of psychological science by attending to culture

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Date: Nov. 6, 2018
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Document Type: Essay
Length: 9,465 words
Lexile Measure: 1480L

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Abstract :

A lack of interpretive power (i.e., the ability to understand individuals' experiences and behaviors in relation to their cultural contexts) undermines psychology's understanding of diverse psychological phenomena. Building interpretive power requires attending to cultural influences in research. We describe three characteristics of research that lacks interpretive power: normalizing and overgeneralizing from behaviors and processes of people in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) contexts; making non-WEIRD people and processes invisible; and misapplying WEIRD findings in non-WEIRD contexts. We also describe research in which leveraging interpretive power prevented these negative consequences. Finally, using the culture-cycle framework, we outline a vision for creating culture change within psychology by implementing culture-conscious practices to guide the formation of research questions, empirical design, and data analysis and interpretation. culture | interpretive power | scientific practice | scientific norms | culture change

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A568371036