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RCGD Fall Seminar Series: Psychological Diversity across the Globe (Catherine Thomas)

Catherine Thomas: Culturally Wise Interventions and Their Effects on Psychosocial and Economic Well-Being
Monday, December 4, 2023
3:30-5:00 PM
1430 Institute For Social Research Map
Culturally Wise Interventions and Their Effects on Psychosocial and Economic Well-Being

People are enculturated actors, shaped by their sociocultural and socioecological contexts. A vast empirical literature has documented that, in Global North contexts that afford greater choice and material abundance, selves are more independent–prioritizing personal interests and autonomy in their preferences and behavior. However, the social psychological literature suffers from glaring gaps in low resource Global South contexts where selves are likely higher in interdependence–prioritizing relationships, roles and obligations in their preferences and behavior (Thomas & Markus, 2023). An agenda on ‘culturally wise’ interventions seeks to fill this gap by experimentally comparing different culturally grounded approaches across diverse sociocultural contexts. Building on theoretical principles of wise interventions (Walton & Wilson, 2018) and culture match (Stephens et al., 2012), culturally wise interventions are attuned to how culturally specific models of self, motivation, and relationality can exert powerful effects on meaning making and behavior. Through experimental evaluations of such intervention approaches in understudied contexts, this research agenda seeks to advance a more comprehensive account of human behavior as well as strategies for promoting psychosocial and economic well-being around the globe. This talk will focus on how culturally wise approaches in sub-Saharan Africa can be leveraged to mitigate poverty and inequality.

Catherine Thomas of the Research Center for Group Dynamics and the University of Michigan, co-organizer of the Group Dynamics Fall 2023 Seminar Series with Shinobu Kitayama, closes the series.

Group Dynamics Fall 2023 Seminar Series: Psychological Diversity across the Globe
Do our cultural contexts influence our psychology and behavior — and if so, how? In this RCGD series, we delve into the socio-ecological, histo-cultural, and economic dynamics shaping the diversity of selfhood and its associated cognitive, emotional, and motivational processes. We go beyond the traditional East and West focus to include a wide range of cultural groups. This series will elucidate the implications of psychological diversity across the globe for policies in international relations, politics, economics, business, immigration, and other relevant domains.

Organized by Shinobu Kitayama and Catherine Thomas
As permissions allow, seminars from this series are later posted to ISR's YouTube playlist.

In person: ISR Thompson 1430
The series runs Mondays from 3:30 to 5.

About the Group Dynamics Seminar Series

The Group Dynamics Seminar series is considered one of the longest running seminar series in the social sciences. It has been running uninterruptedly since it was founded by Kurt Lewin in the 1920’s in Berlin. A very important feature of this seminar today is its interdisciplinary nature. Recent seminars have included discussions in “Law and Psychology,” “Racism and Discrimination,” “Social Media,” and “Political Polarization.” The series is offered by the Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD), at the Institute for Social Research.
Building: Institute For Social Research
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Culture, Diversity, Economics, Multicultural, Psychology, Public Policy
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD), International Institute, Institute for Social Research, Department of Psychology

International Institute Programming

The International Institute’s centers sponsor numerous conferences, lectures, exhibits, and cultural performances throughout the year. These events are designed to educate the university community and the public about global issues and inspire discussion and dialogue. 

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