Cross-Cultural Psychology

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Hebl
Credits: 3
Day: C
Start: 1355
End: 1510
Field Work: Day 1 - Tuesday, 12 August | Poland Download Syllabus

Why do health care professionals in some countries conceal serious diagnoses from patients? Why do children in Greece throw their teeth on the roof when they loose them? How does your nationality influence the way you think about food? Why should you never give the peace sign backwards in England? Is it easier to eat burgers with your hands (as Americans do) or with a knife and fork (as Norwegians do)? Why do Japanese cover their abdomen during a rainstorm? How is the U.S. viewed by other countries? Why should you generally avoid taking change or a gift from the left hand of someone from India? Do bilingual children show cognitive advantages later in life? Why do Colombian children believe there are five continents? Why does potty training in rural China take place on the streets? Why are stoplights so rare in the United Kingdom?

This course is designed to answer these and many other questions regarding cross cultural psychology. Cross-cultural psychology is the comparative study of cultural effects on human behavior. As a discipline cross-cultural psychology examines diversity and the reasons for such diversity.

In this class, we will examine theoretical perspectives in cross-cultural psychology.   We will cover topics such as definitions of self; family relationships; gender differences; verbal and nonverbal communication; expression of emotion; prejudice and oppression; healing and health; enculturation and development; language and communication; cognition; emotions; gender, identity; and mental and physical health.  We will attend to cultural differences and influences on human behavior across different cultures and cultural groups including cultural groups in the United States.  We will also address issues in multicultural psychology including how to live and work in a multicultural society. This course is designed to increase students’ awareness of and sensitivity to issues pertaining to diversity and differences in peoples. Observations during time in ports will provide opportunities to apply concepts discussed in class.

Field Work

Country: Poland
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 12 August

In Gdansk, a day-long tour of the European Solidarity Center, the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers, and the Shipyards. The Solidarity Movement in Gdansk was the beginning a political wave that led to the downfall of the Soviet Union.  The Solidarity Movement represents the power of individuals coming together (and not apart) to gain change in their leadership and previous cultural norms. We will focus on the shift to freedom, responsibility, and democracy. Academic Objectives: 1. Gain firsthand knowledge about the Solidarity Movement and why it represented a cultural shift in Poland. 2. Learn from academicians and experts about the influence of culture on Polish society. 3. Dine with traditional Polish dishes. 4. Examine depictions of culture and learn more about it at the Baltic Sea Culture Center.