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27 January 2010 @ 01:35 pm
Folk Models of Psychology  
There's an interesting book out, Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, that intrigues me. I studied psychological anthropology in college and one of the concepts we learned is that we grow up learning folk models for how our mind and emotions work and then for us, they actually do work this way. Perception, in other words, influences our reality. Cultural anthropology research has demonstrated this repeatedly.

So the premise of this book--that we are exporting our American understanding of psychology and treatment to other cultures, clashing with the host culture in some cases with very bad results--sounds true. I can only wonder what unforeseen effects this will have on psychology around the world and how it might limit our future understanding of human psychology. We stand to learn so much from viewing psychology as it manifests in different cultures. But if we stamp out those differences, we'll be much poorer for it.

This book is going on my wish list. :)
3treekisser: Heliconia3treekisser on January 30th, 2010 10:31 am (UTC)
This sounds cool, thanks for linking it. Americanisation does happen - I won't say it's a 'problem' but it can be...interesting.

Personally, I feel I've gained a lot from being heavily exposed to 'western' culture, not just the modern American consumerist kind but the line of classical thought behind it. But I do feel as if something's lost, and that westernised folks from Asia are stuck being neither one thing nor the other.

Curious about what it was like for you coming at it the other way, west->east - did you feel there were a lot of barriers?