Psychology is a field is study that primarily focuses on the individual attributes of a person, who is essentially the object of study. In this regard, it is important to understand the elements of culture and society since these influence the individual attributes, which impact on the human thinking process. Humans live in a society that is governed by norms derived from the society’s defining culture. This varies from one society to another; hence, the individual attributes will be largely affected by this variation. This interrelationship is important for the psychologists in understanding how the society is closely intertwined with humanity. Thus, pursuing the socio-cultural perspective provides the psychologists with a wider platform for improving the outcomes of their analysis.
First, culture is defined by the traditions and norms that guide human behavior in a particular context. Based on these norms, there are specific mannerisms that individuals are expected to portray at all times. In this regard, psychologists need to understand the relative boundaries within which individuals are expected to act depending on the cultural norms. This introduces cultural psychology, which creates a holistic approach to the study of psychology. According to Shweder, "cultural psychology is the study of the way cultural traditions and social practices regulate, express, and transform the human psyche, resulting less in psychic unity for humankind than in ethnic divergences in mind, self, and emotion" (72). Hence, in as much as individuals are unique in their own ways, the culture plays a significant role in transforming their perceptions regarding certain issues. For example, humans may be emotional creatures but the manner in which they exhibit their emotions depends largely on the way society has framed their mind to act. Self perception may be a universal trait, but it is to some extent influenced by cultural practices that take place at specific stages of an individual’s development.
Secondly, the human society provides its own rich knowledge base that is passed on from generation to generation. As a result, there are distinct patterns that are created in the way humans approach unique situations. The fact that the process of knowledge transfer is progressive implies that it implants a certain level of influence on the human instinct. “Society provides what is to be learned through mechanism that transfer knowledge, and thus the developing individual is shaped to be a participant of that society” (Wertsch 166). In this regard, the manner in which the knowledge is framed and delivered to the learners plays a major role in determining their decision making mechanisms. Psychologists need to understand that certain behavioral attributes may be classified as acceptable even though they may appear relatively misplaced. Hence, by understanding the knowledge transfer process in a particular society, the psychologist can easily identify areas that need more focus compared to others. For example, when attending to an individual, the psychologists needs to conduct a complete assessment of the society’s profile and merge these to the specific context in study.
Thirdly, pursing a socio-cultural perspective enables the psychologist to evaluate cases by giving consideration to definitive factors that are influence the outcome. In essence, psychologists who tend to pursue a socio-cultural perspective tend to focus on definitive factors such as ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, income level, sexual orientation, mental processes, disability status, and lifestyle (Nevid 10). These aspects play a major role in understanding the individual attributes of a person. Age may influence the perception of an individual depending on expectations of a particular age group. Sexual orientation may be acceptable in certain liberal societies or at individual level; hence, conflict may occur in situations where one’s sexual orientation does not merge with the general expectation. Gender is also a major aspect given that fact that the society holds certain expectations of males and females. Hence, psychologists need to understand that even though most societies are patriarchal in nature, there are also those societies that value women’s contributions. This also enables the psychologist to avoid creating deliberate disparities in terms of treatment approaches or solution proposed. The ethnicity and lifestyle of an individual may also characterize certain behavioral traits; hence, psychologists need to understand how to integrate these factors into their analytical process while safeguarding individual integrity.
Finally, culture and society play a major role in helping psychologists to understand how the human mind works depending on specific contexts. The understanding that individuals will uniquely respond to situations is something that psychologists need to internalize by pursuing the socio-cultural perspective. Various ethnic dimensions influence the behavioral patterns depending on the self perception and emotional attributes. The society also stipulates specific knowledge transfer mechanisms that may are followed from one generation to another. Thus, this affects an individual’s understanding of specific situations. It also influences their behavioral traits such that depending on the knowledge transfer process, some may be characterized as acceptable or unacceptable. Additionally, the socio-cultural perspective in psychology requires psychologists to understand definite mechanisms in terms of ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, income level, sexual orientation, mental processes, disability status, and lifestyle.