Cross-cultural psychology's challenges to our ideas of children and development

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Abstract

Historically, cross-cultural psychology has been expected to contribute to an understanding of children and development by increasing the generality of the experiences to which children are exposed and thus providing a broader base from which to report how experience affects development. A variety of difficulties with this basic enterprise are summarized in terms of the difficulty of isolating independent variables and ambiguities in the interpretation of dependent variables. A major, current contribution of cross-cultural psychology is to the processes by which relations between culturally organized experience and development are investigated. It seems clear that a close interplay between laboratory and observational research in which experiments are used as self-conscious models of potentially important cultural experiences will be needed to enable psychologists to gain the benefits from cross-cultural research which its founders envisioned. (36 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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