Indigenous Psychology: Grounding Science in Culture, Why and How?



My agenda is to ground psychological science in culture by using complex rather than overly simple models of culture and using indigenous categories as criteria of a translation test to determine the adequacy of scientific models of culture. I first explore the compatibility between Chinese indigenous categories and complex models of culture, by casting in the theoretical framework of symmetry and symmetry breaking (Bolender, 2010) a series of translations performed on Fiske's (1991) relational models theory. Next, I show how the dimensional approach to culture, prevalent in mainstream psychology, fails the translation test. Ethical implications of this analysis for cross cultural psychology are discussed.