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The Study of Human Thought & Behaviour: Looking Back & Looking Forward Mark H.B. Radford The 5th International Workshop on Cultural and Ecological Foundations.

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Presentation on theme: "The Study of Human Thought & Behaviour: Looking Back & Looking Forward Mark H.B. Radford The 5th International Workshop on Cultural and Ecological Foundations."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Study of Human Thought & Behaviour: Looking Back & Looking Forward Mark H.B. Radford The 5th International Workshop on Cultural and Ecological Foundations of The Mind, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan April 7, 2003

2 MHBR 2 Introduction The last 10 years Employee attitudes, corporate culture  Fad vs. Competitive Advantage Reflection of social psychology?

3 MHBR 3 Some Constraints Behavioural science – the study of psychological phenomena taking into account person, society, culture & environment Applied environment – “What?”, “So What?”, “Now What?” Sharing of ideas Universal ideal Global, generalist approach ‘Ideas in progress’

4 MHBR 4 Lecture Format Issues in social psychology & cross-cultural psychology 2 examples of current research interests Future & conclusions

5 MHBR 5 Issues in Social Psychology & Cross- Cultural Psychology The ‘Crisis’ Wilhelm Wundt, 1879 – first laboratory  Two approaches: 1. Laboratory Approach 2. Descriptive Approach Universal Laws Behaviourism 1940s – Psychology was empirical, mechanistic & quantitative

6 MHBR 6 ‘Crisis’ Continued Behaviourism in crisis in 1960s  Limited internal & external validity  Issue of viable paradigms & appropriate methodologies ‘Crisis of confidence’ in many areas of psychology Social Psychology (Hogg & Grieve, 1999): 1. reductionist, immature in theories; 2. positivist & unsophisticated in methods; 3. blind to role of language, history, culture

7 MHBR 7 The Reaction Approaches: 1. Radical rejection of traditional theories & methods 2. Less radical approaches that incorporated wider range of variables (e.g. culture, society) – ‘social cognition’, ‘social identity theory’

8 MHBR 8 The Role of Culture Cross-Cultural Psychology  Culture is antecedent behaviour, outside individual, ‘universalist’ approach Cultural Psychology  Culture is inside individual, ‘contextualist’ approach Indigenous Psychology  Folk theories into formal psychological theories, ‘integrationalist’ approach

9 MHBR 9 Culture, expectations & behaviour in real-life Saudi Arabian bank employees “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” Television Show

10 MHBR 10 The challenges Perceptual inference Globalisation through migration, technology & economy Continual change & adaptation within cultures

11 MHBR 11 Globalisation Long history… Migrant groups & ‘time warp’ cultures Multinational companies  Individual preference & selection  Hofstede & collectivism in Japan Massive changes in last 20 years

12 MHBR 12 The ‘Issues’ Consider psychological phenomena in their context Comprehensive conception of culture Culture is not a ‘static, unchanging’ variable Combining both qualitative & quantitative measures Extension of laboratory research to real settings Application of problems to real-life settings Educating non-psychologists of our research findings

13 MHBR 13 Two Examples Impact of culture on depression & anxiety Work attitudes & behaviour

14 MHBR 14 Cultural impact on depression & anxiety disorders Depression & anxiety exist in all cultures so far examined, although variation in prevalence, type, nature & severity of symptoms Biological diversity between some racial groups have implications for efficacy of some treatments

15 MHBR 15 We know… Depression can result from a specific event or experience, or from genetic and/or chemical imbalances Depression can have both adaptive & maladaptive consequences depending on severity & social environment

16 MHBR 16 We know… Differences occur between Asian & Caucasian subject in terms of biochemical tolerance to & absorption rates of medication Food intake, herbal remedies & cigarette smoking can interact with drug treatments to increase or decrease efficacy of drug treatments

17 MHBR 17 So… Understanding the causes of depression & anxiety (biological, chemical, social, environmental, psychological) becomes essential to understanding the ways they are manifested, how they will impact behaviour & thought, & how they can be treated Research from many different disciplines has made clear that there is no simple answer

18 MHBR 18 Culture-biology interactions (Lin, 2002) cognitive coping social support Culture-biology interactions (cf. Lin, 2002) genetics environment ETHNICITY CULTURE vulnerability ‘BIOLOGICAL MARKERS’ ‘State’ ‘Trait’ psychopathology clinical syndromes course & outcome Stress

19 MHBR 19 An example…Japanese Work Setting Negative impact of depression often masked by traditional social support systems & norms about what is appropriate behaviour Dramatic changes in society (age distribution, urbanisation, loss of traditional social support) Economic changes (increase in unemployment, change, uncertainty) Deterioration in mental health

20 MHBR 20 Sources of stress in the workplace includes: Role ambiguity Role conflict Career uncertainty Job insecurity Lack of control & authority Poor relationships with supervisors Poor relationships with colleagues ‘Work overload’ ‘Work underload’

21 MHBR 21 Japanese work environment Encourages conformity & consensus at expense of individual responsibility & self- direction greater sense of helplessness & hopelessness Long working hours impact on physical & mental health High prevalence of depressive symptoms ‘Karoshi’

22 MHBR 22 Research has shown… Hopelessness predictor of suicidal intent & behaviour Markus & Kitayama’s research on self Yamagishi & colleagues’ research on trust Suicide in the workplace

23 MHBR 23 Summary Enormous consequences of mental health problems – psychological, social & economic Understanding the cultural, social, psychological & biochemical interactions helps us devise appropriate treatment programmes

24 MHBR 24 Work attitudes & behaviour Employee Attitude & Organisational Climate Surveys Philosophy SatisfiedSatisfiedSatisfied EmployeesCustomersOwners

25 MHBR 25 Problems… Lack of theoretical framework Badly designed instruments “My boss beats me and doesn’t pay me enough” Inappropriate comparisons

26 MHBR 26 Little attempt is made to… Develop model of employee satisfaction that identifies those elements that drive satisfaction & those that contribute to low morale Ensure instruments are designed appropriately (cf. conceptual, linguistic & metric equivalence Conduct appropriate analyses - not just provide descriptive statistics but also identify causal relationships Understand results in terms of local social, cultural & economic conditions

27 MHBR 27 And so… Lots of statistics but little information telling you what is happening, why it is happening & what needs to be done False conclusions Frustrated employees Wasted exercise?

28 MHBR 28 A model of employee satisfaction & commitment Four essential ingredients for a happy employee: 1. Satisfying or satisfactory relationship with colleagues & supervisors 2. Personal satisfaction 3. Reward & recognition 4. Brand image of organisation (or product)

29 MHBR 29 Organisational Environment (culture/style, work organisation, work practices, work environment, communication) Organisational Environment (culture/style, work organisation, work practices, work environment, communication) Employee Satisfaction/ Commitment; Productivity Affiliation (working relationships, employee involvement, identification & image) Affiliation (working relationships, employee involvement, identification & image) “Take” (leadership/management, supervision, training performance appraisal, personal development) “Take” (leadership/management, supervision, training performance appraisal, personal development) “Give” (ethics/values, customer focus, quality – products & services) “Give” (ethics/values, customer focus, quality – products & services) Basic Needs (rewards, recognition) Basic Needs (rewards, recognition) Aspiration (career development) Aspiration (career development) Organisational Strategy, Goals, Values Organisational Strategy, Goals, Values “Context” “Social Exchange” “Needs” © Mark H.B. Radford, 2002 The Model

30 MHBR 30 The Future Old Concept?  Universities as places of intellectual learning New Concept?  Competitive environment – people & resources  Relevance & application of thinking & research

31 MHBR 31 Conclusion The Elephant story Subject vs. discipline based research Four important questions: 1. What am I looking at? 2. Why am I looking at it? 3. How has it come about? 4. What I am I going to do now that I have that knowledge?

32 MHBR 32 Finally… Perhaps it is time for another revolution in psychology… Thank you

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