Editorial: A Commentary on the Assessment and Analysis of “Culture-Content” in Basic Psychology Texts

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Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Vol: 11, Issue: 1

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Walt Lonner
Grand Valley State University Libraries; International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology
article description
This commentary focuses on one basic question: “How and to what extent do beginning university students in North America (United States as well as Canada) learn about culture’s influence on behavior via introductory psychology texts that are almost always published in the U.S.?” An overarching question permeates the article: What objective methods have been used to find and evaluate the cultural content of beginning psychology texts? These questions are considered important in the teaching of psychology at the basic level and can influence the authors of texts that are central in psychology curricula in general and teaching cross-cultural psychology in particular. In this unit, the earlier article by Lonner and Murdock (2012) and the recently uploaded article by Scott and Safdar (2016) focus on the cultural content of two types of basic texts in psychology. Respectively, they are the workhorse introductory text (IPT) and those that introduce social psychology (SPT). The main purpose of these two studies and seminal writings (Lonner, 1989; Rumple, 1988) was to assess and analyze the extent to which such texts in these areas contain information on culture and its proxies such as ethnicity and diversity.