The Culture and Cognition Program focuses on the dynamic interplay between socio-cultural processes and psychological processes. It seeks to understand how psychological processes of individuals are shaped through participation in socio-cultural processes and, conversely, the socio-cultural processes are maintained and changed by behaviors of these very individuals.
In cooperation between the University of Michigan’s Psychology and Anthropology departments and the Institute for Social Research faculty and students from anthropology, psychology, and related disciplines are brought together for discussion, collaboration, and graduate student training.
The scope of the program is broad, encompassing social, personality, cognitive, and developmental perspectives in psychology as well as those of neighboring disciplines including anthropology, sociology, organizational behavior, and area studies. The group as a whole uses a variety of methodologies, including laboratory experiment, survey, and ethnographic observation. One main emphasis of the group has been global comparisons between East Asian cultures and Euro-American cultures in respect to independent vs. interdependent self and analytic vs. holistic cognition. In more recent years, there is an increasing emphasis on regional and social class variation both in Europe and Asia. Further, the socio-cultural perspective of the group has been used to investigate several new topics and issues including aging, intelligence, negotiation, value, and well-being. The group has close collaborative ties with a number of institutions across the globe. Research projects in the program have been supported by National Science Foundationand National Institution for Aging.