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Recommended Books

Handbook of Cultural Psychology

by Shinobu Kitayama and Dov Cohen

Bringing together leading authorities, this definitive handbook provides a comprehensive review of where the field of cultural psychology is today and where it may be headed in the future. Major theoretical perspectives are explained, and methodological issues and challenges are discussed. The volume examines how topics fundamental to psychology--identity and social relations, the self, cognition, emotion and motivation, and development--are influenced by cultural meanings and practices. It also presents cutting-edge work on the psychological and evolutionary underpinnings of cultural stability and change. In all, more than 60 contributors have written over 30 chapters covering such diverse areas as food, love, religion, intelligence, language, attachment, narratives, and work.
Handbook of Cultural Psychology

The Geography of Thought

The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently... and Why

by Richard Nisbett

From Scientific American

Nisbett, a psychologist and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, used to believe that "all human groups perceive and reason in the same way." A series of events and studies led him gradually to quite another view, that Asians and Westerners "have maintained very different systems of thought for thousands of years." Different how? "The collective or interdependent nature of Asian society is consistent with Asians' broad, contextual view of the world and their belief that events are highly complex and determined by many factors. The individualistic or independent nature of Western society seems consistent with the Western focus on particular objects in isolation from their context and with Westerners' belief that they can know the rules governing objects and therefore can control the objects' behavior." Nisbett explores areas that manifest these different approaches--among them medicine, law, science, human rights and international relations. Are the societal differences so great that they will lead to conflict? Nisbett thinks not. "I believe the twain shall meet by virtue of each moving in the direction of the other."
  • Chiu, C.Y. and Hong, Y.Y. (2006). The Social Psychology of Culture. New York: Psychology Press. 
  • Cole, Michael. (1996). Cultural Psychology: A once and future discipline . Harvard University Press.
  • Heine, Steven. (2007). Cultural Psychology. New York: Norton.
  • Hirschfeld, Lawrence A., & Gelman, Susan A. (Eds.) (1994). Mapping the Mind: Domain Specificity in Cognition and Culture. Cambridge University Press.
    An edited volume that serves as a strong introduction to how regularities of conceptual structures undergird knowledge acquisition across domains and thereby constrain culture. Chapters or the whole text may be used to introduce important issues in conceptual development and the interplay between cognitive biases and environmental inputs. Appropriate for advanced undergraduates, graduates, and faculty.
  • Sperber, Dan. (1996). Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach. Blackwell Publishers.
    A collection of essays exploring how regularities of the human mind constrain the communication or transmission of ideas, and thus begin to account for why cultural knowledge is the way it is. Chapters or the whole text may be used to introduce fundamental ideas in culture and cognition. Appropriate for advanced undergraduates, graduates, and faculty.
  • Tomasello, Michael. (1999). The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition. Harvard University Press.
    This authored text clearly and convincingly develops both the biological and cultural heritage of the human mind using comparative, evolutionary, and developmental evidence. Appropriate for undergraduates, graduates, and faculty.


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