Bridging universal and cultural perspectives

Bridging universal and cultural perspectives

The article: ‘Bridging universal and cultural perspectives: A vision for developmental psychology in a global world’ by Lene Arnett Jensen presents timely research for psychology and is worth reviewing. The primary hypothesis being explored in the paper is the drawing together of knowledge in developmental psychology and cultural psychology in order to bridge universal and cultural concepts in the present global world (Jensen, 2012). The hypothesis is valid, as it is both testable and refutable. Cultural and developmental psychology have for a long time been treated as separate bodies on knowledge, yet they tend to serve similar or interrelated roles. Whereas the focus of developmental psychology has been on universal description and explanation of characteristics and processes of human development with the aim of improving the lives of children and families, cultural psychology focuses on demonstrating that culture is a component of human psychology and development using culture-specific or culture-sensitive methods (Jensen, 2012).

A descriptive methodology is being used to describe the cultural and developmental phenomenon in populations being studied. The strengths of descriptive research are that it is innovative and presents a chance to combine qualitative and quantitative data – common in cultural and developmental psychology respectively- thus providing a means to reconstruct the described phenomenon. The weakness of the method is that the researcher has to design data collection instruments that are predetermined and prescriptive, thus the need to look out for possibility of error and subjectivity, and ways to overcome researcher bias. In-depth techniques have been used to review data from previous studies in cultural and developmental psychology in which various methods, such as surveys, experiments and case studies were used.

The design used is a template model as a theoretical framework that can be used to study, understand and bridge theories between developmental and cultural psychology. The design addresses development of subjects by looking at three categories of ethics: ethic of autonomy, ethic of community, and ethic of divinity, all being important dimensions of studying human development across cultures. These three dimensions also form the dependent variables for studying culture and development. The independent variables are different developmental stages of human beings given as children, adolescence, and adults. A systematic review has been used in analysis of data and it is appropriate because the researcher focused on bringing together evidence-based results from primary studies to create the hypothesis. Potential confounds such as the term ‘child’ having different perspectives depending on cultural contexts have been explained. Generally, most of the confounding variables have been well addressed in the paper.

The results support the researcher’s conclusions. It was found that no matter the different cultural backgrounds of people, with time and through social interactions, people tend to develop the same mannerisms. This supports the researcher’s conclusion and suggestion for bridging in which developmental psychology will be flexible, neither advocating for a one-size-fits-all, nor special-size-for each culture (Jensen, 2012). The findings have mainly focused on the developmental psychological perspective on how it will benefit from bridging. A more convincing tone should have been included to show the importance of bridging to cultural psychology. Overall, the paper is insightful and remarkably written. The findings are important as they present an open-minded approach in addressing developmental psychology, especially in the recent global age.


Jensen, L., A. (2012). Bridging universal and cultural perspectives: A vision for     developmental psychology in a global world. Child Development Perspectives, 6, (1),           98-104.

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