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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

ASCH, SOLOMON E.

Asch was a Gestalt psychologist, and studied perception, memory, thinking, and metaphor from this perspective. His social psychology emphasized phenomena, mental events, the importance of context and relationships, and the existence of innate predispositions. As opposed to the behaviorists, Asch held that behavior is not a response to the world as it is, but to the world as perceived. American students avowed different levels of agreement with the statement, “I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical,” depending on whether it was attributed to Jefferson or Lenin. Asch showed that although the “stimulus” might be the same in both cases, the meaning (judged by paraphrases) was not.

On culture: “Most social acts have to be understood in their setting, and lose meaning if isolated. No error in thinking about social facts is more serious than the failure to see their place and function” (P. 61).

ASIAN AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGY

The Chinese were the first group of Asians to emigrate to the United States in large numbers-during the California gold rush of 1849. This flow was eventually ended by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (Uba, 1996)

Eventually, the Immigrant Act of 1965 resulted in a large influx of Asians into the United States. As a result of this liberal immigration policy, the proportion of immigrants entering the United States who were Asian grew from y% in r960 to 25% in 1970 to 44% in 1980 (Min, 1995). The next major influx of Asians into the United States was the arrival of over 130,000 Southeast Asian refugees after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This was followed by various immigration programs that sought to arrange the orderly departure of Amerasian children from Vietnam to the United States.

First, they are the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the United States. Between 1980 and 1990, the number of Asian Americans, including Pacific Islanders, grew at a rate of 95% nearly double that of Hispanic Americans, the next fastest growing group: more than triple that of Native American, Eskimo, and Aleuts; and more than seven times the growth rate of African Americans. According to a projection by the US. Department of Commerce, the number of Asian Americans will grow from 7 million to over 40 million by the year 2050 (Gall & Gall, 1993).

Some researchers have partially attributed Asian American academic success to family structure. For example, children from intact families tend to do better in school, and Asian Americans are more likely to come from intact families.

While Westerners value autonomy and independence, Chinese traditionally value harmony, togetherness, and unity. Chinese culture was traditionally a shame-based culture that emphasized public disgrace as punishment, as opposed to the Western guilt-oriented culture’s emphasis on self-blame as punishment. The four primary coping strategies in Chinese culture were: endurance, looking the other way, not thinking too much, and activity.

Huang (1991) pointed out that emotional problems still tend to be expressed in somatic ways. As such, most Chinese Americans do not view “talk therapy” as particularly helpful and seek psychotherapy only as a last resort.


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