On the evolutionary, contemporary and universal dimensions of culture and identifying the main research areas in cultural psychology
The term culture would mean the entire gamut of activities, beliefs, lifestyle, habits, rituals, arts, ethics and behavioral patterns of a society. Yet despite the wide definition of culture, the elements of culture being too varied and divergent, it is not easy to provide a relationship between culture and psychology. There are two common ways by which the relationship between psychology and culture is studied, through intra-cultural psychology or behavioral patterns within a particular society and intercultural psychology or behavior and psychological characteristics between societies.
Intra-cultural psychology seeks to understand the cultural basis of behavior by studying the peculiarities of a society, its rules and norms and shows how traditions shape or influence the collective psyche of the people within the society. However in psychology this is simply considered as ‘cultural psychology’ a straightforward term denoting the study of cultural traditions and their effects on the psychology of people. This sort of categorization may be misleading as it tends to see cultures as fundamentally different units and highlights differences rather than similarities. Cross-cultural psychology focuses on finding universal patterns of behavior or beliefs that are common among people of all cultures and this is what has been described here as ‘inter-cultural’ psychology. The terms ‘intra-cultural’ and ‘inter-cultural’ psychology would be more conducive to finding a psychology that shows convergent patterns of cultural behavior among people across societies.
The psychology of culture requires further development in the areas of defining culture and in finding cultural roots that would highlight collective psyche or universal patterns of behavior. Humans are finally united by common emotions and psyche and this broader cultural psychology has been promoted by Carl Gustav Jung who focused his studies on the importance of deriving or understanding the collective unconscious with those elements or archetypes that are carried from one generation to another. » Read more: The Psychology of Culture