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Record Type: Review   ID: 26

Cross-Cultural Topics in Psychology

Adler, Leonore Loeb, & Gielen, Uwe P.

 Cross-cultural and multi-culture findings and approaches are needed for a full picture of exceptional human experience. We need to know how the full range of over 100 types of EHEs we have identified in the U.S. can also be identified in other cultures, and whether other cultures have types of exceptional experience that the U.S. does not. Second, it is very important to identify all the different types of narratives, life-potentiating and depotentiating, that are applied to the exceptional experiences in different cultures. In some cultures what we call exceptional may be considered normal, and vice versa. Other cultures are probably far advanced in devising narratives in which to embed and potentiate their experiences, and these may be helpful to us. This is happening already, especially as regards shamanism, which is providing imagery and techniques that promote higher levels of self-transcendence and realization in some Anglo-Americans in ways our own culture could not. Part I of this book has five chapters on the history of and methods for cross-cultural studies. The next section contains four chapters on developmental aspects. A developmental approach to exceptional human experience is just beginning to take shape, and it cannot really be complete without cross-cultural studies. The third section, Personality and Belief Systems in Cross-Cultural Psychology, contains three important chapters: on emotion, personality, and belief, which play major roles in regard to exceptional experiences at all stages of development. The last section has three chapters on applications of cross-cultural psychology. Two of them are very relevant: one on "Psychological and Clinical Aspects" and one on mental health treatment. Exceptional experiences in Western societies are often considered to be symptoms. It would be of great interest to see where they fit on the psychopathology continuum in other cultures.
Publisher Information:Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994. Pp. xiv +253. Bibl: 203-236; Ind: 237-245; 7 tables
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