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Theoretical and methodological challenges in cross-cultural social psychology research
Theoretical and methodological challenges in cross-cultural social psychology research
Social psychology depends on assumptions about the cultural context in which an experiment takes place. Cross-cultural psychology identifies and explains differences not accounted for in these assumptions. However, comparability does not come easy; there are numerous challenges that come with expanding the surrounding context both in the development of theory and execution of methods. This dissertation will review the history of cross-cultural psychology and strive to experimentally rectify some of its shortcomings. Part one will take on the theory behind one of the most researched cross-cultural topics: collectivism, which is traditionally contrasted to individualism. I further differentiate between relational and categorical collectivism, and investigate similarities and differences at a country level as well as at the individual level of self-construal. Part two will address methodological issues in cross-cultural psychology: 1) by looking at the mode in which data is collected; comparing paper/pencil, web/computer-based, and smart-phone, and finding differences across modes which are not explained by country or age alone, and 2) by exploring the fundamental comparability of psychological measures with invariance testing, and by using different methods of testing, such as multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis and alignment, for measurement invariance with the goal to facilitate comparing measures across numerous countries. In conclusion, these experimental explorations both improve and draw attention to the limitations in cross-cultural social psychology.
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Magraw-Mickelson, Zoe
2019
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Magraw-Mickelson, Zoe (2019): Theoretical and methodological challenges in cross-cultural social psychology research. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
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Abstract

Social psychology depends on assumptions about the cultural context in which an experiment takes place. Cross-cultural psychology identifies and explains differences not accounted for in these assumptions. However, comparability does not come easy; there are numerous challenges that come with expanding the surrounding context both in the development of theory and execution of methods. This dissertation will review the history of cross-cultural psychology and strive to experimentally rectify some of its shortcomings. Part one will take on the theory behind one of the most researched cross-cultural topics: collectivism, which is traditionally contrasted to individualism. I further differentiate between relational and categorical collectivism, and investigate similarities and differences at a country level as well as at the individual level of self-construal. Part two will address methodological issues in cross-cultural psychology: 1) by looking at the mode in which data is collected; comparing paper/pencil, web/computer-based, and smart-phone, and finding differences across modes which are not explained by country or age alone, and 2) by exploring the fundamental comparability of psychological measures with invariance testing, and by using different methods of testing, such as multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis and alignment, for measurement invariance with the goal to facilitate comparing measures across numerous countries. In conclusion, these experimental explorations both improve and draw attention to the limitations in cross-cultural social psychology.