Cross Cultural Research

LCHC’s history of cross cultural research has been important in formulating a critique of contemporaneous methods of cross-cultural and developmental psychology. The methodological approach of this research incorporates a blend of experimental psychology and cognitive ethnography in an effort to highlight the important role of cultural context and the need to study and take seriously local practices and local interpretations of those practices. That is, studies of human cognitive activity must be grounded in the actual materials and processes that are important in people’s daily lives.

This research has called into question the use of cognitive tasks to measure school achievement by showing that schooled children scored better on psychological tests while simultaneously performing below expectations on their schoolwork. This finding directed research to think about the link between the activities that children are engaged in outside of formal schooling and their performance in the classroom. The interplay between informal and formal educational activities continues to be a point of interest for LCHC researchers today.

A description of this kind of work can be found in Section One, which looks at cross cultural work done in the 60s that focused on the role of culture in human development, and Section Two, which discusses work done in Liberia and the Yucatan.


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