The Story of Culture in Psychology and the Return Journey to Normology: Comments on the Global Relevance of Asian Indigenous Psychologies

  • Chi-yue ChiuEmail author
  • Yuan-yuan Shi
  • Letty Y.-Y. Kwan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Indigenous Psychology book series (PASIP)


In this chapter, we use the story of culture in psychological research and a return journey from personology to normology to comment on the global relevance of Asian indigenous psychology (IP). The return journey reveals the inconvenient truth that all theories have their cultural blind spots. Even cultural theories that seek to explain collective phenomena also embody a personological bias. Thus, Asian indigenous theories can have important epistemic functions. These theories may confront the researcher with alternative viewpoints that are grounded in different cultural logics. These alternative viewpoints may destabilize the researcher’s knowledge structure, evoke cognitive dissonance and motivate theoretical innovations. The story of culture in psychology highlights the conditions that must be met for the potential contributions of Asian IPs to be actualized. Three necessary conditions are: (1) a shift in the emphasis from cultures as independent, historically stable entities to cultures in the making, (2) recognition that cultural influence on behaviors are partial, plural, dynamic, intermittent and situated, and (3) an embrace of foreign cultural ideas and practices as precious resources for advancing the psychological science of culture.


Indigenous Psychology (IP) Foreign Culture Cultural psychologyCultural Psychology Cultural Frame Switching Cultural evolutionCultural Evolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chi-yue Chiu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuan-yuan Shi
    • 1
  • Letty Y.-Y. Kwan
    • 1
  1. 1.The Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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