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Amber Gayle Thalmayer: Eccellenza interview practice talk
août 24 @ 4:00 - 5:30
Universal versus Culturally-Specific Aspects of Personality and Mental Health
Description: Psychology is the study of human beings in general, but our knowledge relies disproportionately on evidence from the United States and other Western, industrialized nations, who together make up 11% of the world’s population (Thalmayer, Toscanelli, & Arnett, 2020). This bias limits the generalizability of our findings (van de Vijver, 2013), because many aspects of psychology, even for basic perceptual processes and for young children, have been shown to vary across cultural settings (Heinrich, Heine & Norenzayan, 2010). In many cases, however, psychologists do not know which aspects of their theories, measures, and interventions are universally applicable, and which are not. This project addresses such questions, increasing the representativeness of psychology and decreasing bias. Following the recommendations of leaders in cultural psychology (e.g. Cheung, van de Vijver, & Leong, 2011), it combines etic (imported) and emic (bottom-up) elements to provide strong tests of the universality of current models and to explore the diversity of human experience. This effort focuses on the domains of personality, emerging adulthood, and psychological disorders. It also seeks to integrate and extend efforts to define psychological variation between cultural groups, in order to conceptualize the mechanisms behind observed differences. Three main projects are envisioned: (1) A longitudinal study of emerging adults in Namibia; (2) A collaborative 10-country survey on (a) psychological dimensions of culture and (b) psychological disorder symptoms; and (3) lexical studies of personality in African languages. Importantly, the studies would be carried out in ways that are contextually relevant and that empower scientists and research assistants around the world. Together these studies will improve models and measures for use in diverse contexts, and will help define the foreground of cultural diversity against the background on human universals.