Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Psychological research not always universal; Studies should involve more cross-cultural collaboration, says researcher

Date:
May 10, 2010
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Previous studies have found that the vast majority of published psychological research in the United States is based on American samples and excludes 95 percent of the world's population. Yet, these results are often generalized and taken as universal. A researcher hopes his experience will encourage more researchers to develop cross-cultural relationships.

Previous studies have found that the vast majority of published psychological research in the United States is based on American samples and excludes 95 percent of the world's population. Yet, these results are often generalized and taken as universal. When University of Missouri doctoral student Reid Trotter examined perfectionism and coping methods in Taiwanese culture for his dissertation, he decided to collaborate with a graduate student in Taiwan. From their collaboration, they found that models of perfectionism and coping were not universal. Trotter hopes his experience will encourage more researchers to develop cross-cultural relationships.

"In general, there has been very little cross-cultural research in the United States," Trotter said. "This has resulted in an insufficient understanding of the psychological functioning of the human species. Cross-cultural research requires developing a relationship with a member of the culture in which you plan to study. This relationship will help researchers address possible cultural blind spots that may unintentionally weaken the study."

Previously, geographical barriers limited researchers' ability to develop these relationships. Now, technology, such as Skype, can help scholars facilitate communication and work through possible cultural misunderstandings.

"Cross-cultural relationships require trust and respect and should be collaborative instead of hierarchical," said Puncky Heppner, professor of educational, school and counseling psychology in the MU College of Education. "Researchers need to be aware if they are coming across as condescending in another culture and realize they are examining a culture with their own glasses that may tint a situation blue, whereas other glasses may tint a situation yellow."

Previous studies that used samples in the United States have found that maladaptive perfectionists reported higher levels of psychological distress, such as depression and anxiety, whereas adaptive perfectionists reported higher self-esteem than the other groups. To examine the validity of Western models of perfectionism and coping models in Taiwanese culture, Trotter collaborated with Hsiao-Pei Chang, a Taiwanese doctoral student and Li-fei Wang, a professor from National Taiwan Normal University who helped connect Reid and Hsiao-Pei. They found that avoidance and detachment coping predicted maladaptive perfectionism, which in turn predicted impaired psychological functioning. This is congruent with the Taiwanese cultural context that is strongly influenced by Confucianism, Heppner said.

Chang and Trotter talked consistently via Skype for several months before data was collected. Instead of using an internet survey, Chang helped collect data onsite in Taiwan. Then the data was sent to Trotter, so he could analyze the findings and eventually complete his dissertation. Chang was able to join Trotter's dissertation defense meeting in Missouri via Skype and contributed feedback about the study.

"The Skype meetings allowed them not only to discuss the best approaches to collecting data within the Confucian culture of Taiwan but also to develop a strong cross-cultural working alliance," Heppner said. "As a native of Taiwan, Chang was able to offer expert suggestions on numerous methodological procedures, such as how to present an informed consent to Taiwanese participants in a culturally competent and non-threatening manner and what type of incentives should be provided."

Trotter will discuss his experience and findings at the American Psychological Association Conference this August.

"My collaboration with Chang helped me illuminate cultural differences and understand the intersection of culture and psychology," Trotter said. "I found that perfectionism means different things to different cultures. This study strongly suggests that perfectionism models are not universal."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Psychological research not always universal; Studies should involve more cross-cultural collaboration, says researcher." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100507142149.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2010, May 10). Psychological research not always universal; Studies should involve more cross-cultural collaboration, says researcher. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100507142149.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Psychological research not always universal; Studies should involve more cross-cultural collaboration, says researcher." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100507142149.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins