Elective course - Culture and Psychology

Course content

Psychology prides itself for being a scientific discipline that describes, interprets, predicts, and changes the human mind and behaviors - but is it for everyone? During this course, we will examine (and sometimes challenge) the common premises and approach of today’s psychological researchers, practitioners, and educators. By reading, thinking, discussing, observing, and writing, we will also reflect on our own values and assumptions, which would hopefully make us better members of this increasingly globalized world.


The content of the course encompasses:

  • Core concepts and frameworks of cross-cultural psychology and culturally sensitive research
  • Cross-cultural research methods (e.g., types of cross-cultural comparisons, research, and Bias and equivalence)
  • Culture, cognition, and emotion
  • Culture and self
  • Culture and human development
  • Cultural understanding and sensitivity in mental health and psychotherapy
  • Multicultural competence (acculturation, challenges and strategies for intercultural interactions)

Bacheloruddannelsen i Psykologi 2021 – studieordningen


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Bachelor and Master Programmes in Psychology
Learning outcome


  • Have research-based knowledge of concepts, theories, and methods in cross-cultural psychology
  • Identify explicit and implicit definitions of "culture" in psychological studies
  • Describe key mechanisms which culture can influence human behavior and mental processes



  • Recognize different levels of comparison and major approaches of including culture in psychological research
  • Critically compare human behaviors and mental processes across cultures
  • Develop scientific and critical thinking skills, through reviewing, evaluating, and discussing existing literature on cross-cultural psychological research, as well as debating contrasting research findings and frameworks



  • Present and discuss cross-cultural psychological knowledge and problems
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of culturally-relevant psychological studies in an area of interest
  • Explain own cultural assumptions about human behaviour, emotion, and cognition
  • Relate psychological concepts to one's experiences and interests to aid in the learning process
  • Demonstrate sensitivity while interacting with individuals with diverse backgrounds and/or perspectives
  • Plan, design, and tentatively implement research projects in the area of cross-cultural psychology


Attendance of at least 75% of the classes and active participation in the activities, assignments, presentations etc. set by the course coordinator.

Active participation consists of:
1) Class discussion: demonstrates accurate reading and understanding of assigned texts;
2) Group work and small-scale workshops: active students’ contributions to the construal of classes and the transposition of theoretical material to real-life cases;
3) Oral presentation: students will take part in a group debate, where two groups (2-3 students approx.) will present and defend opposite positions/frameworks related to research within cross-cultural psychology. Some materials will be provided for guidance, but both groups are expected to conduct a thorough literature review of both their own and the opposite position.

Syllabus cf. curriculum: The syllabus can be compulsory or combined compulsory/self-selected.
Elective (BA) (7.5 ECTS): approx. 600 standard pages
Elective (MA) (7.5 ECTS credits): approx. 800 standard pages

An up-to-date syllabus list will be available in the course room on Absalon just before the start of the semester.

If the course has previously been offered, syllabus lists can be found here: Absalon

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Set assignment

Specify exam type: Literature review (essay)

Literature Review
Students will write a literature review that focuses centrally on issues of culture (in psychological research). Students are encouraged to refer to class materials, notes, or other academic sources available online (with references).
The review must:
1) develop and examine one clearly defined research question that fall in one of the areas covered in class (e.g., emotion, cognition, human development, mental health, therapy, multicultural competences…), with
2) culture as a centerpiece, and
3) make critical use of concepts explored in the course texts and in class discussions, and self-chosen literature.

The review should include a title page, an abstract, and references. It should follow APA style and have a length (including abstract and in-text references) between 10-15 pages.
Students will receive guidance throughout the course and some feedback on their ideas and plans for implementation halfway through the course. Additional specifications are given when the course starts.

PREREQUISITES FOR SITTING THE EXAM: For all elective courses, the attendance requirement is 75%. However, the course is based on full participation.
Exam registration requirements

Prerequisites for sitting the exam: Minimum attendance of 75% to sit the exam. In addition, all students must be deemed to have actively participated in class discussions. They must have presented effectively on one text and also attended and given a final presentation in the last class. Under these conditions can they move forward and take the final assessment.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Criteria for exam assessment:


Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 30
  • English
  • 30


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

Autumn And Spring
Department of Psychology, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Psychology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Xuan Li   (7-7d7a667333716e4575787e33707a336970)
Saved on the 30-04-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students