Bio Professor at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Current editor of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Dr. Kitayama’s research focuses on cultural variations in self, cognition, emotion, and motivation. Over the last two decades, he has applied a variety of experimental methods to illustrate a wide array of East-West differences in psychological processes. His recent work has explored regional, social class, as well as age differences and similarities in psychological tendencies to understand their socio-cultural underpinnings.
Topic Cultural Neuroscience: Building on Asian Social Psychology
Over the past three decades, we witnessed various proposals to enrich our understanding of culture, including, for example, cross-cultural psychology, indigenous psychology, and cultural psychology. To this, we may now add a new one, cultural neuroscience. Although different in emphasis, these approaches share in common the assumption that culture is fundamentally significant in human adaptation. In this lecture, I will build on the premise that culture is composed of various scripted behavioral patterns designed to achieve each culture’s core values (called “cultural tasks”). As people grow up, they develop their identities by adopting specific values from their group and, by so doing, select some subset of the cultural tasks relevant to their identities, and repeatedly engage in them. This process will eventually yield neural pathways that are optimally attuned to carry out the selected cultural tasks, with their brains undergoing plastic re-wiring. These culturally mediated neural changes will enable each person to perform his or her cultural tasks automatically, even without conscious awareness or monitoring, thereby promoting both social and biological adaptation. Recent evidence for the plastic change of brain structure through participation in culture will be reviewed.
Bio Professor at University of Maryland
Dr. Gelfand’s research focuses on cross-cultural social and organizational psychology. She has published her work in many scientific outlets. In 2018, her book Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire the World explains variations in the strength of social norms and punishments across human cultures.
Topic A Hundred-Year Journey of Progress in Cross-Cultural Psychology
I take a hundred-year journey to examine how the science of cross-cultural psychology has evolved, with particular emphasis on social/organizational psychology. Broad trends can be identified across 4 main periods: the early years (1917–1949), the middle 20th century (1950–1979), the later 20th century (1980–2000), and the 21st century (2000 to the present). Within each period, I discuss key historical and societal events that influenced the development of the science of cross-cultural psychology and important milestones and breakthroughs achieved. I will then highlight exciting new directions and opportunities for growth in the field, focusing on multi-level and multi-disciplinary perspectives.
Bio Professor at Brown University
Dr. Li’s research focuses on East Asian virtue-oriented and Western mind-oriented learning models and how these models shape children’s learning beliefs and achievement. Her research has been published in leading professional journals, and her 2012 book Cultural Foundations of Learning: East and West synthesizes related research over the past decades and offers new perspectives on the indispensable role of culture in human learning.
Topic Li (禮) and Self-Cultivation
Recent research in human development has identified three kinds of learning across cultures: instrumental learning, testimonial learning, and norm/ritual learning. Instrumental learning is done by analysis, logic, and often creativity (e.g., how to solve a math problem). Testimonial learning depends on children’s trust for being told about things they can never observe with the naked eye (e.g., historical events or germs). Finally, norm/ritual learning takes place by imitation and participation. This latter learning is learning of cultural norms, conventions, and rituals (e.g., eating food with chopsticks and bowing to an elder). Children rarely, if at all, ask adults why; instead they just follow the convention. Chinese culture has been known for millennia for its high value of ritual propriety (li, 禮) toward social/moral self-cultivation. As such, ritual propriety is an important psychological domain. Yet, little research and theory exist on what Chinese ritual propriety is, what function it serves, and how children learn it. This presentation focuses on interpersonal ritual propriety and is an initial step to describe such ritual propriety and its functions. Future research in ritual propriety will be discussed.
Bio Professor at Kaohsiung Medical University and the Emeritus Professor at National Taiwan University
Dr. Hwang’s research focuses on Chinese indigenous psychology in terms of the Confucius mind theory. He has been published in several leading journals, and wrote more than ten academic books. His 2012 book Foundations of Chinese Psychology: Confucian Social Relations demonstrates the basics of Confucionism and compares them to Western thinking, constructing a series of psychological theories concerning social exchange, face, achievement motivation, organizational behaviors, and conflict resolution.
Topic Escape from Kantian Eurocentric Bias in Cross-cultural Psychology
Taking Kant’s misjudgment on Confucian silver rule as the point for first cut, this article is designated to illustrate the fallacy of imposed Orientalism (Said, 1978) prevailing in mainstream cross-cultural psychology which tends to understand non-Western cultures by a mental set of dualism with a tendency of Westcentrism, particularly the popular research on individualism-collectivism. This type of Euro-centric or Westcentric misjudgments are not unusual in Western social sciences, for instance, Confucian ethics are frequently described as particularistic in consideration of the distinction between universalism and particularism made by sociologist Parsons (1937, 1949). In order to help the international academic community to escape from the trap of Westcentric WEIRD psychology (Henrich, et.al., 2010a,b), this article will argue for and illustrate its characteristic of contextualized universalism step by step on the basis of Hwang’s (2012, 2015b, 2019) previous research on Confucian ethics with a cultural system view as suggested by Kitayma (2002). Finally, it will discuss the operation of Confucian ethics in the lifewords of Chinese people during the globalization age of multiculturalism when they are facing the impact of Western culture.