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Psychological Theories Paper

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Introduction

Psychological Theories Paper Donna Stefanick Psych 535 February 14, 2011 Dr. Frances Kelley Psychological Theories Paper Developmental Psychology is a field that studies the changes that occur in a person over a lifetime. These changes include not only the physical, but the emotional, cognitive and social changes and advancements that occur in the course of a lifetime. This is one of the more inclusive fields of psychology that in its theories will incorporate many factors. And still, as with most of the field of psychology in general, it has been built and tested mainly on a small sample of the world population, western industrial mostly middle class subjects (Segall,1999). As such, the developmental theories are ethnocentric. As defined by Merrian-Webster dictionary (2011) this means "characterized by or based on the attitude that one's own group is superior". Since the theories were built on a very specific ethnic population in a multicultural view, we cannot assume without further investigation that these theories are universal and apply to the development of all people, of all ethnicities. ...read more.

Middle

In Western culture the Self is defined in the context of separation, while in Eastern culture the self is defined in terms of connectedness. This cultural difference affects the way the developmental steps of identity formation are achieved in the different cultural setting. In Western culture self seeking and uniqueness will be encouraged and considered a natural step in development, as defend by Erikson in the stages of identity Achievement and/or identity Moratorium. In comparison in Eastern Cultures, individuals are much more encouraged to join the group and follow norms. Identity development will be defined more through processes that allow connections to others, such as identity Foreclosure and identity Diffusion. Ethnocentric Perceptions and Their Affects on Social Interactions Erik Erikson believed that at birth there exists an innate quality of personality that is built in stages and based mainly upon the culture and family in which one is raised (Santrock, 2008). In our culturally diverse world children and adolescents who have their own ethnocentric perspective will need to be able to take the perspective of others from different ethnic groups ...read more.

Conclusion

Ethnocentrism has the power to lead to negative perceptions, stereotypes and actions against ethnic minority populations. In early development stages, it appears that socialization has a positive effect on the children, thus reducing the chance of race becoming a barrier (Nagayama Hall, 2010). The middle/late childhood stages seem to be the period when a child begins to experience racial and ethnic barriers. These barriers can affect the child's self-esteem and academic performance. Exploration of an individual's ethnic identity is said to increase during the start of adolescence and decrease as the adolescent becomes older and secure with his or her ethnic identity (Nagayama Hall, 2010). Biases, stereotypes and negative perceptions trend to restrict individuals who are considered to be in a minority population. These individuals can be the subject of discrimination not only from their cultural peers but from many other cultures as well. Ethnocentric perspectives can have an effect on many individuals. While cultural groups may never come to a mutual appreciation and understanding of other cultural groups, the ethnocentric limitations can be minimized if the individuals of the groups can keep an open mind and try to embrace the traditions and beliefs of other cultures. ...read more.

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