Cross-Cultural Psychology

PSY 428


An International and Global Studies Course (Core B)




Spring 2014 2:00-4:30 pm

Classroom: Epply 210


Office Hours: M,W: 1:30-2:30

Course information can be found on Blueline:

TA: Lauren Simpson


Required Text:

Cultural Psychology Second Edition, By Steven Heine, 2012.

Miss Honey Reading Packet  (10 bucks)


An education is what students remember after they have forgotten all of the facts we made them memorize. It is whatever they say they learn from you when you meet them a year, or two, or five after you taught them. And if we in the educational system think more broadly about what it is that we are delivering, and if we define education as stated above, then to me the goal of education is to help humans live uniquely as humans. This then begs the question of what is uniquely human, and what differentiates us from non-human animals, and what differentiates us from each other.  Culture.

Course Objectives

1. Gain a broader understanding of human development, thinking, emotions, and behavior. For example, culture has been demonstrated to affect even basic visual processes and thus impacts how we literally see the world. Culture also affects the basic cognitive processes involved in memory and thinking. Thus, through cross-cultural study of human behavior, one can better understand others’ reality.

2. Understand what culture is and understand and appreciate the impact that culture has on human behavior. Perhaps because many of us are so immersed in our own cultures and often have little exposure to other cultures, we are ignorant of just how much impact culture has in shaping our thoughts and actions. By virtue of learning about cultural differences in human behavior, one can begin to appreciate the impact of culture on one’s own thought and behavior.

3. Know methods of how to study it: Cultural studies have a long tradition of mixed methods not typically found in mainstream psychology.

4. Become more aware and appreciative of the diversity of human behavior, so that you can respond intelligently and without prejudice to an increasingly interdependent and pluralistic world. Technological advances have resulted in dramatic increases in cross-cultural contact. Our societies are far more diverse and integrated than ever before. Yet business, political, and personal relationships still struggle with cross-cultural misunderstandings, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and outright conflict and violence between groups. This course addresses the causes of stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and ethnic conflict and the difficulties in trying to reduce them. We will discuss issues regarding cross-cultural contact and provide information and perspectives that can help you better handle cross-cultural contacts and immersion into unfamiliar cultural environments.

5. Hone your written and oral communication skills, Not only will these exercises enliven the class and help make the material memorable for you, they will also allow you to develop and sharpen your communication skills.

Questions we will try and answer:

What is a culture? (definition)

How do psychologists study culture? (ethnography)

Are specific psychological constructs basic universal constructs or culturally relative constructs? (self concept, cognition, mental health)

Can we move beyond a cultural show and tell? (you don’t get out of Bikaneer much do you?)

What are the rules in which cultures operate around? (marriage)

What are the psychological implications of cultures meeting? (acculturation, ethnic identity)

Can we challenge ourselves to be women for and with others through a deeper understanding of how our culture makes us who we are? (ethnic identity)


What you are expected to do:

Participation: This will be graded by your attendance, participation in class, weekly quizzes and writing assignments. You will be asked throughout the semester to do a writing assignment. They should be typed double spaced unless otherwise described. The topic will be relevant to class and the topic will be introduced a week before the assignment is due. Each week you should prepare one question for class. This can come from life or from the readings but should be relevant either to what we did talk about our what we will be talking about. You will be asked to offer up your questions to the large group or a small group during discussion. Please have a notebook that is designated specifically for your writings in cultural psychology. Please bring the notebook each class and be prepared to turn it in periodically. Your participation will be graded. That means read the assignment before the class. Quizzes will be given each week at the begining of class over the content we will be covering. So read.....

Twenty of your participation points will be awarded for your involvement in the Refugee Apartment Set up (more on this later). We will be assigned a refugee family that will be arriving sometime in the semester. As a class we will also be given a list of the necessities that is required for each family (i.e. a bed, table, couch, dishes, etc.). After learning what we can about the culture, we will then be responsible to ‘set up’ the apartment for the family.  This will involve you using your own transportation, money, time and resources. Expect to have class ‘in the field’ for 1-2 weeks.




   You have a choice of how to complete 100 points of the 400 total points in the course. (1) You may choose to write a 10 page traditional paper on a topic of your choice. The paper should have a central thesis and draw from theory or research covered in class. For example, you may want to write a paper on marriage systems in India, or on the influence of education on self concept among indigenous peoples. (2) You may also choose to give a 15 minute class presentation on a topic similar to a paper topic. In the place of a formal paper you will turn in your presentation slides and references. You will record yourself giving the presentation and upload it into our facebook page. In addition to content you will be graded on your oral presentation skills. (3)You and a partner may organize an on-campus event around some important issue, e.g., lecture about genocide, or a panel discussion about race issues at Creighton, , or the Oxfam hunger banquet. You are responsible for organizing, publicizing and running the event. In this case, the class presentation would be the forum itself and I would come to the event and grade you. T(4) Documentation. This is similar to an annotated photo story where the goal is to make culture and learning visible. These will be due  April  30.

 Paper/Presentation Grading Rubric

Event Grading Rubric

Documentation Rubric

Documentation Chapter

Example Project


Exams: The class will have 2 exams worth 100 points each. These will be take home exams.


Paper/Presentation/Project:  100

Participation (attendance, class participation, quizzes, writings):     100

Exams:          200



A         =          90-100%         

B+        =          88-89.9%

B          =          80-86.9%

C+        =          78-79.9%

C          =          70-76.9%

D         =          60-69.9%        

F          =          less than 60%


Please note that grades will not be rounded up. However, if a student shows dedication and drive to his/her understanding of the course material, he/she may receive a bump if he/she is on the border between two grades. A student can show dedication and drive by attending all classes, participating in classes, completing all homework sets (on time!!), and by coming in for office hours periodically.

Grading Standards & Scale


                                        Failure (F level, below 60): The grade of F indicates course work that is insufficient to merit academic credit. Students who receive an F usually demonstrate some of the following characteristics:

·         Inadequate understanding of subject matter.

·         Frequent failure to complete assignments in a timely manner.

·         Little or no evidence of critical thought or analysis.  

·         Very poor communication skills.

·         Frequent misunderstanding of facts or references.

·         Confused or incomprehensible writing.

·         Evidence of cheating or plagiarism.

        P                               Poor Achievement (D level, 60-69): The grade of D indicates poor but passing work. “D” work usually demonstrates some of the following characteristics:

·         Minimal understanding of the subject matter.

·         Poorly developed communication skills.

·         Inability to apply subject matter understanding in other contexts.

·         Little evidence of critical or creative thinking.

·         Lack of apparent seriousness.

·         Frequent carelessness in fulfilling assignments.

                                        Mediocre Achievement (C+ level, 78-79.9, C level, 70-77.9): The grade of C recognizes mediocre/average work that would benefit from substantial improvements. Such work demonstrates:

·         Basic grasp of course concepts.

·         Partial mastery of knowledge and skills required for understanding.

·         Incomplete familiarity with relevant readings or references.

·         Writing that lists facts rather than develops well-reasoned arguments.

·         Frequent neglect of important information.

·         Partial appreciation of the meaning or implications of a question.

·         Answers that are insufficiently developed.

·         Minimally complete assignments with many areas for improvement.

·         Competent if not creative use of technology. 

                                              Good Achievement (B+ level 88-89.9, B level 80-87.9): The grade of B recognizes good work that meets course expectations and typically demonstrates the following characteristics:

·         Clear understanding without much originality.

·         Competent grasp of course materials and subject matter.

·         Familiarity with relevant literature.

·         Competence (if not elegance) in oral and written communication skills.

·         Regular preparation for and participation in class.

·         Integration of course knowledge, concepts and procedures.

·         Some evidence of critical and creative thought.

·         Clear connections between inferences and evidence.

·         Careful use of evidence/quotations with only occasional thinness in argument, detail, or precision.

·         Effective use of technology.

                                                 Superior achievement (A level, 90 & above): The grade of A recognizes exceptional performance and achievement that exceeds course expectations. Students who receive the grade of A consistently demonstrate, where applicable, the ability to:

·         Demonstrate thorough, deep, and mature understanding of course material.

·         Analyze arguments using specific examples and original, documented sources.

·         Think logically, draw inferences, and make predictions in complicated situations.

·         Communicate reasoning clearly and concisely; actively and intelligently participate in class.  

·         Think abstractly, independently, creatively, and with focus. 

·         Identify strengths and weaknesses in arguments, policies, and practices, recognizing nuances.

·         Integrate information to draw well-founded conclusions.

·         Write clearly, elegantly and without grammatical errors and use technology creatively and effectively.



Media Authorization Form. During this course, I may take your photograph or obtain video tape and/or record your voice which might be reproduced as learning material to be distributed later. If you are comfortable being part of a multi-media production that I may develop during this course, please print this page, read it, sign it, and return it to me.

 Hardware/Software Agreement– This document explains how video and audio files will be distributed to you throughout the semester, as well as documents and power point presentations. You must print and sign this agreement so that I know you have read the document and that you understand how course materials may be delivered, and that you further understand that you will learn how to download or view files as necessary.

Technology Readiness Assessment This questionnaire will allow me to determine what kind of hardware and software you use, what peripherals you own or have access to (i.e. digital camera, microphone, etc.), as well as your current skill level with regard to technology, which will assist me in developing multimedia files that you can easily download and manipulate.


Class Cancellation Policy


   If for some reason a class must be cancelled, an announcement of this cancellation will be made to you as soon as possible via Blackboard, via an email message to your official email address. You may also call the weather line.  


Academic Honesty Policy


   I expect you to avoid dishonest academic behavior.  I expect each student to complete his or her own work.  You may work together to prepare for exams and to

assist each other on assignments, but you are NOT allowed to copy someone else’s work.  Any exam, quiz, or assignment should be the work of the student receiving

credit for it.  It is considered cheating to allow someone else to copy from your work and to give information to someone who will take an exam at a later date.

Violations of the University’s policy on Academic Honesty include but are not limited to:


§  Unauthorized collaboration or use of external information during examinations;

§  Plagiarizing or representing another's ideas as one's own;

§  Falsely obtaining, distributing, using, or receiving test materials;

§  Engaging in any conduct which is intended or reasonably likely to confer upon one’s self or another an unfair advantage or unfair benefit respecting an academic matter" 


If you are unsure what constitutes cheating, or if you have any questions about the University’s academic honesty policy, please consult the following website:

Any student caught cheating will at minimum receive a zero for that assignment, but more likely will be flunked for the entire course. 

Any act of cheating could also result in further action by the college.

copyright 2013 JBrown