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Implications on Psychology of the Article Essay

Implications on Psychology of the Article “Cultural Sensitivity and Cultural Competence” It was argued by Trimble (2003) that psychological constructs and studies should not be analyzed and taken in apart from a view on culture and ethnic background. The proposition had its strengths; however its absolute disqualification of psychological findings, made seemingly without regard to cultural differences, left much to be said.

Among others, one of the article’s weaknesses was that although it spoke of cross-cultural studies and placed emphasis on the correct assessment of culture’s effects on psychological constructs, there was a marked focus mainly on North American culture (Trimble, 2003). Caucasians and cultural minorities in the United States were the main population regarded as evidence of the negativity of unfounded generalizations regarding the universality of principles.

Seeing as the field of psychology was being attacked as being ethnocentric with its lack of attention to other ethnicities, Trimble also reflected the same ethnocentrism with its failure to take note of local studies conducted in other countries which were the actual home of the ‘other cultures’ that were being championed. The article attacked the unquestioned generalization of established psychological constructs with the presumption that the same are applicable to all persons since humans are basically the same.

The role of cultural practices and the effect of cultural differences is not taken into consideration in the application of psychological concepts. Manners of methodology were targeted as a means of unifying indigenous concepts to form a universal store of psychology. However, there was no mention of the current practice or methods applied by psychologists conducting research. It is important to note how research methodologies are done as the same are the basis for clinical practices and even academic discussions in psychology.

One specific practice in research is to describe the subject population being studied. This description serves to affirm the interactive culture that participants are exposed to everyday, although it is admitted that the descriptions rarely reflect the ethnic culture background of participants. However, using the definition of culture employed in the article as quoted from Brown in his 1991 book, the latter interactive backgrounds of the participants described in research reports was more reflective of culture as learned and not simply genetically transmitted (Trimble, 2003).

It is also to be noted that the article focused its criticisms largely on cognitive, physiological, and evolutionary psychology perspectives, failing to take into account the largely cultural approach of perspectives such as behavioral psychology. Also, the criticisms revolved around the clinical practice of psychologists and the therapist-patient relationship. However, in the remedies suggested the focus was largely on the methodology in conducting researches. There was thus a gap in the parallelism of the problems and solutions presented.

It should be admitted however that although the article failed to fully comprehend the nature of the discipline that is psychology, it also made some valid arguments against processes of research in the field. It cannot be refuted that foundational psychological concepts, and even novel concepts resulting from foundational psychological perspectives, are applied to different populations with little regard to whether the same are applicable to the cultural context.

The universality of concepts has thus been more a top-down process rather than a conclusion formation considering local conclusions reached by individual communities. There should be a trend towards this same diagram of universalizing concepts. The fundamental question of research methods – not simply methodology in report which was discussed earlier – was also a valid question.

Given the variations in communication and interaction in differing cultures, there arises a shift in the manner of drawing information from participants in order to achieve the most truthful self analyses, report, and presentation in researches conducted. When the article presumes however that the bottom-up process of universalizing concepts is largely non-existent in the field of psychology, it is mistaken. The United States is not the only country involved in psychological research and indigenous studies of psychology have already begun in countries outside of America.

This is of greater relevance than the lack of the same in cultural minorities within the United States. The limited scope of the article’s focus with regard to cultural groups failed to consider this. However, the article was correct in analyzing the influence of language in the development of indigenous psychologies. Although it was correct in this, it failed to extend its analysis on the manner of interpretation of established psychological constructs in local psychological studies.

It is an established practice in research reporting to define and operationalize different variables studied and taken into consideration. Thus, in some studies it was evident that although the same nomenclature was used there was a marked difference in interpretation of the same. Most often the differences in interpretation resulted from the different observations made of cultural practices. The process of generalizing inherent behaviors in particular cultures was thus already present in the mere interpretation of already established nomenclature.

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