Psychological assessment in a multi cultural context

Padilla and Graciela N. Wimsatt, and Jacquelyn Beard. Building Community Test Norms: Malgady and Gerardita Colon-Malgady.

Psychological assessment in a multi cultural context

Who are these people? What does it have to do with psychology? Why should I care? How can I join? What Is Cultural Psychology? Cultural psychology is an interdisciplinary field that unites psychologists, anthropologists, linguists, and philosophers for a common pursuit: It is not a freestanding area within psychology, and most cultural psychologists would like to keep it that way.

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Rather than cordoning it off as its own subfield, cultural psychologists want to benefit from the breadth of expertise of its sundry practitioners, and to have a broader impact on all areas within psychology and across the social sciences. Cultural psychology differs from other areas not only organizationally, but also philosophically.

In contrast to psychologists who tend to assume that their findings and theories are universal until proven otherwise, cultural psychologists tend to assume that their findings and theories are culturally variable.

We suggest that the cultural patterning of psychological processes is precisely what is universal across humans. To discover these universals, however, we have to test our theories in other populations. We also have to explore the particulars we find and what they tell us about basic psychological processes.

That Phineas Gage lost his ability to plan for the future when he lost most of his medial prefrontal cortex was extremely informative for understanding how healthy minds are able to forecast future events.

Likewise, knowing that certain groups do or do not show the same tendencies under different social and cultural conditions is very informative of how minds work.

The Nature of Culture The presence of cultural differences and of a field called cultural psychology encourages the questions: And what does it have to do with you and your psyche?

Culture is much more than foods, festivals, and costumes. More often than not, these ideas are implicit and automatic, guiding our practices, structuring our institutions, and generally infusing the everyday business of our lives. Culture shapes individual minds and behaviors as much as the minds and behaviors shape the culture.

Indeed, theorists increasingly argue that what separates humans from other species is our ability to produce and perpetuate cultures. Developmental psychologist Joan Miller of New School University notes that neuroscientists face a similar challenge in describing the relationship between biology and mind.

Yet since the cognitive revolution and the rise of neuroscientific methods, psychologists have increasingly considered biology the cause of behavior, and named the brain the seat of the mind. If we take seriously the proposition that human beings are both biological and cultural beings, though, it makes sense that the sources of mind may be found both in the head and in the world.

Another is the mounting empirical evidence for the role of culture in human evolution and development. A third reason is simply that the world is getting smaller. There will be a huge niche for cultural psychologists who understand what culture is and what it does.

Psychological assessment in a multi cultural context

Fifty years ago, diversity in higher education ran the gamut from tweed to gabardine. As immigration laws have changed and access to higher education has increased, the student bodies to which psychologists offer their science have changed from lily white to varicolored.

Increasingly, the psychology that European American researchers produce does not resonate with the experiences of these multicultural consumers. The good news for psychologists who want to do cultural psychology is this: That particular cultural context is the middle-class, college-educated, predominantly Protestant European-American milieu from which the vast majority of psychological researchers and research participants hail.

Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan Business School, underscored how strange this group is. So I actually shifted my research to focus on American culture.

Even among Americans, only 24 percent of those over age 25 have college degrees. Social psychologist Fathali Moghaddam, Georgetown University, has speculated that non-student populations would reveal a more striking cultural difference than purely academic groups, even though many studies have already documented cultural differences among college students.

For example, university students in Istanbul read, listen to, and wear many of the same things as university students in Washington, DC. However, the lives of these students in Istanbul are quite different from those of people in the villages of western Turkey, just as the lives of university students in major American cities are quite different from those of people in other American contexts.

Immerse yourself in the everyday business of living in another culture. It is only through the contrast of cultural systems that their operating principles become salient. Cultural psychologists differ in their opinions of how deep the cultural immersion has to be before it imparts its wisdom.

Psychological anthropologist Alan Fiske, University of California, Los Angeles, often recommends a lengthy stint of fieldwork, replete with language learning and participant-observation.

Many draw initial insights from their own cultural backgrounds and then supplement these insights by reading texts from anthropology, history, and sociology.Ethics in a Multicultural Context provides strategies for critical decision making in multicultural settings. Utilizing extensive case studies, authors Sherlon P.

Pack-Brown and Carmen Braun Williams present a comprehensive exploration of counseling ethics in a cultural context. 1 Cross-Cultural Personality Research: Conceptual and Methodological Issues Verónica Benet-Martínez University of California at Riverside To appear in R.

W. Robins, C. Fraley, R. F. Krueger (Editors), Handbook of Research Methods in Personality Psychology. Assessment. The Ethics Code also reinforces attention to multicultural competence in the area of assessment, as new standard requires psychologists to incorporate in their reports the situational, personal, linguistic, and cultural differences that may influence test scores and interpretations.

Taking into account the broader social, cultural, and political context in which assessment is used and the ways in which such factors might affect assessment results, their interpretation, and the use to which they are put the test is valid for the purposes for which it is being used; 5).

From intake, to assessment, to building the relationship, to interventions, to assessment, to termination, multicultural competencies are implicated and necessary throughout every step. The need for multicultural competencies is present from the first contact with a client.

Psychological testing. Psychological testing is a social action that has evolved to fit certain social niches, providing an objective analysis of a person’s behavior and identifying individuals who are suitable candidates to be offered educational or employment opportunities.

SAGE Books - Multicultural Assessment