Our research has focused mostly on the interaction of people, culture, and situations. We try to understand both individual differences (within-culture variation) and cultural differences (between-culture variation) in an integrated way. Please check out the “People” tab to see what our current graduate students are working on.
Culture, Cognition, and the Self
So, we try to understand the cultural logics that make each culture distinct, and we try to understand how people position themselves either toward or against the dominant logic of their culture (Leung & Cohen, 2006a). In this work, we have mostly compared face, dignity, and honor cultures. Another area of interest has to do with phenomenological perspectives on the self. How do people of different cultures experience the self? In our work, we have examined the insider and outsider perspectives that people may take on the self in Euro-American and Asian-American contexts (Cohen & Gunz, 2002; Cohen, Hoshino-Browne, & Leung, in press; Leung & Cohen, 2006b).
Culture and Language
A relatively new topic of research in the lab relates to the intersection of culture and language. Broadly speaking, we are interested in how people of different cultures may describe reality in some fundamentally different ways. Our different cultures construct the lens of language through which we normally interpret and describe the world around us. Likewise, traces of how people live, and what their lives are like can be gleaned by investigating patterns and tendencies embedded in a culture's language.
Social psychology is a highly interdisciplinary field and inspiration for psychological study can be found all around us. In addition to the research listed above, we are always in mid-brainstorm about topics relating to sociology, law, economics, the environment, and beyond.