Shinobu Kitayama, PhD, the Robert B. Zajonc collegiate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor, is working to expand the theory and practice of psychology to make it more reflective of, and useful for, societies other than Western, Eurocentric ones. Kitayama has been a pioneer in cultural psychology, which explores the relationship between culture—a society’s way of life—and the mind. He is one of the most-cited scientists in the world, and in 2022 received the APA’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. He is also an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Powerful historical, geographic, and economic forces shape all societies, and culture in turn informs our personalities, thinking, and behavior from the moment we’re born. Kitayama notes that every one of us has the potential to change our culture, because it’s alive and dynamic, but we live within its values. However, he says, the current literature of general psychology presently focuses on behaviors and motivations that are particular to the West.

“It’s important to expand the scope” of psychology to encompass the globe, he says. “When you look at a map of the world, the West is here, the rest is everywhere else.”

Read the complete article in American Psychological Association