Cross-Cultural Psychology

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Skorinko
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 2 - Friday, 19 February | Myanmar (Burma) Download Syllabus

Why is Spam so popular in Hawaii? Why is it unacceptable to cut noodles in China and Hong Kong?  Why do people stand so close to you in Vietnam? Why would you never eat with your left hand in India?  Why do people in South African drive on the left side of the road? Why are proverbs so important in Ghana? How does your nationality influence the way you think about food? Do bilingual children show cognitive advantages later in life? How is the U.S. viewed by other countries?

In this course, we will explore these questions and many more as we learn about cross-cultural psychology.  Cross-cultural psychology is the study of cultural effects on human behavior and diversity.  We will examine theoretical perspectives and empirical findings in cross-cultural psychology.  This course will cover topics such as: development, understanding the self, cognition, communication (verbal and nonverbal), emotion, relationships, prejudice, gender, mental and physical health, and what it means to live and work in a diverse and multicultural society.  We will discuss how cultural differences influence human behavior and thinking.  We will examine these issues both within the cultural groups in the United States as well as cultures around the globe (with a particular focus on the ports we will visit). This course is designed to increase awareness and sensitivity to issues pertaining to diversity and differences among people and to allow for discussions on these sensitive topics.  Observations during time in ports will provide opportunities to apply concepts discussed in class.

Field Work

Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Day: 2 - Friday, 19 February

This field lab will involve a day-long visit that contains several components. Meditation and yoga are have been an integral part of East Asian and South Asian culture and religion, but are only recently becoming part of American culture. Meditation and yoga may influence the way we think by increasing mindfulness and reducing stress. We will take a trip to meditation or yoga center, and learn about and practice the art of meditation or yoga. We will also visit a local temple to learn more about the local religion and culture. We will also explore food and tea and the importance of different ingredients and the importance of tea in the culture. Throughout the day you will be asked to keep a journal and you will write a paper detailing your experience and how it ties into topics we have discussed so far.

Academic Objectives:
1. Connect theories of Cross Cultural Psychology and the real world
2. Gain an active understanding of Eastern culture, religion, and food
3. Develop an appreciation for meditation and yoga from a cross-cultural perspective