Cultural Universality Versus Cultural Relativism

Cultural universality in psychology refers to the idea that all human beings share a core set of psychological traits (e.g., emotions, beliefs, values, and behaviors), also known as psychological universals. Cultural universality is often contrasted with cultural relativism, which refers to the notion that psychological traits are specific to culture-sharing groups. Some liken cultural universality versus cultural relativism to the proverbial nature versus nurture debate and believe that cultural universals are driven by shared biology and relativism by social and cultural influences. Furthermore, some purport that social and cultural factors may have an altering effect on individual biology and psychology.

The implications of cultural universality versus cultural relativism for abnormal and clinical psychology range from reconsideration of the generalizability of psychological theories to misattribution of psychological ...

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