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Multiculturalism and Gender: Overview

Given the increasing diversification of the United States, the study of multicultural issues in psychology has become an important aspect of the field. Paul Pedersen, a leading multicultural psychologist, states that multiculturalism is the “fourth force” in psychology, meaning that it is important for psychologists to recognize the ways in which culture and context affect the development of human behavior. Just like psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and humanism (the first, second, and third forces, respectively), multiculturalism has shifted the way in which psychologists study and understand human behavior. Multicultural psychology embraces an inclusive and broad definition of culture, which includes dimensions of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion/spirituality, age, language, ability/disability, and other aspects of culture.

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