Psychology, Science, and Culture: Cross‐Cultural Analysis of National Psychologies

Uichol Kim
Published Online:
27 Sep 2007
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 30 Issue 6

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Although psychology is assumed to be a value‐free, universal, and objective branch of science, in actual practice it is deeply enmeshed with Euro‐American cultural values that champion rational, liberal, and individualistic ideals. In North America, the free exchange of ideas is valued, and ideas are purportedly evaluated through public and competitive avenues. This belief affects how conferences are organized, research collaborations are developed, research is funded, and publications are accepted. In East Asia, human relationships that can be characterized as being “virtue‐based” rather than “rights‐based” occupy the centre stage. Individuals are considered to be linked in a web of inter‐relatedness and ideas are exchanged through established social networks. Establishing trust and cordial working relationships are prerequisites for the active exchange of ideas. Psychological science is a cultural enterprise that must examine its implicit assumptions and integrate with other world views in developing a truly universal psychological science.

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