What is Cross-Cultural Psychology?

The psychology field is very complex and it encompasses a variety of branches, including cross-cultural psychology. This branch of psychology looks at the influences of diverse cultural aspects on how individuals, groups, and populations behave. It is very different from other branches and involves two research methods, emic and etic. It is also applied to various other types of subfields of psychology

Difference Compared to Other Branches

Many other branches of psychology center on how family members, friends, and other people influence the behavior of a person, but the majority do not consider the powerful effect that culture may have on the actions of individuals. This type of psychology focuses on examining human behavior in a way that considers the impact of many cultural factors. This discipline is often referred to as a form of research methodology, instead of a completely separate branch within psychology.

Emic and Etic

Emic and ethic refers to the two types of field research conducted and the points of view from the social group and outside factors. The approaches fall under cultural anthropology. The emic focuses on examining how different cultures are alike. This approach explores how local people think, view and classify the world; the way they behave; and how they explain things. Emic knowledge and explanations are those that occur within a culture as determined by local beliefs and traditions. The etic method moves the emphasis from local observations to more scientific explanations. Etic refers to simplifications about human behavior that are regarded as true. It focuses on examining the differences between cultures, while understanding that individuals of a culture are commonly too involved in their actions to understand their cultures independently. This method also commonly connects cultural practices to aspects of interest to the researcher, such as ecological and economic conditions. When the emic and etic approaches are united, the best view of a culture can be comprehended. Alone, the emic method would have difficulty applying predominant values to a single culture. The etic approach assists with preventing researchers from viewing only one feature of one culture and then applying it to cultures throughout the world.


This branch of psychology is applied in nearly all subfields of psychology, including general psychology, cognitive psychology, and counseling and clinical psychology. Individuals applying this branch of psychology methods obtain data and information from various societies to investigate the scope of human behavior and examine hypotheses of how culture affects that behavior. Cross-cultural psychologists who practice in clinical and counseling settings have applied a variety of cross-cultural psychology principles to many different types of psychotherapy and counseling. Generally, the goal of cross-cultural psychologists is to look at both unique behaviors and universal actions to recognize the ways that culture influences behavior, family interactions, education, social experiences, and other aspects.

The rise of this type of psychology reveals a universal process in social sciences that strives to purify certain areas of research that are currently subject to bias. This branch of psychology, combined with other subfields, seeks to make psychology less complicated. Cross-cultural psychology is taught at a variety of institutions of higher learning throughout the world.