Letter from the Volume Editors

The launching of the Advances in Culture and Psychology series is the result of a confluence of events that happened at the right place and the right time. Like many ideas, the germ of the conception of the series was quite serendipitous. It was December of 2006, during a conference on culture sponsored by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, that we were reflecting on the achievements of the culture field over a coffee break. After days of very stimulating presentations that energized and connected culture scholars from across the field, we had the collective recognition that the state of the science of culture and psychology was far deeper, far broader, and far more impactful than anyone at the conference had even begun to acknowledge. It was a recognition that a cultural revolution is beginning to take form throughout the discipline, with culture research infiltrating all of psychology—from neuroscience, developmental, clinical, and counseling, to social and organizational and beyond. Far from being the ‘exception,’ culture research in the discipline was becoming more of the norm. Over our coffee break, we also had another collective realization: While culture research pervades the discipline, the disciplinary structure of the field inhibits this very recognition and synergy. Much of the culture work in across psychology remains within its own disciplinary walls, rarely breaking out to be found in its sister disciplines. Additionally, with few exceptions, there is little institution building that organizes, disseminates, and marks the collective contributions of the culture and psychology field.  The Advances in Culture and Psychology series seeks to do just that.

In this series, we seek to showcase highly influential research programs on topics related to culture and psychology, broadly defined.  The series is a source for students, researchers, and practitioners who want to find comprehensive, critical, and state of the art reviews on mature research programs in culture and psychology. The Advances series is committed to showcasing culture research that represents a wide variety of theoretical, epistemological, and methodological perspectives, including research from cross-cultural, cultural, indigenous, computational, linguistic, among many other traditions; work that spans many levels of analysis; and work from psychology as well as our sister disciplines, including linguistics, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, among others.  Of note, we deliberately chose the title Culture and Psychology to communicate the breadth and depth which we view the intellectual terrain of the series.

With this series, we hope to develop an intellectual home for culture and psychology research programs and to foster bridges among culture scholars from across the discipline and beyond. We aim to provide a space to showcase our collective knowledge, to take stock of the best that our field has to offer, and to push the cultural envelope even farther and deeper into the discipline of psychology.  We also envision the advances as a mechanism to translate our knowledge into practical relevance for managing interdependence in an increasingly "flat" world.  In a world of global threats and global opportunities, knowledge about cultural processes is critical for dealing with pressing universal concerns, from terrorism to globalization to the preservation of the environment.

Scholars from across the discipline will be invited to contribute articles on a yearly basis so that the volume reflects diverse contributions across the field of Culture and Psychology. Authors are also encouraged to submit their work to be considered for publication. Target articles for the Advances in Culture and Psychology are scholars’ own mature research programs—comprehensive reviews of the cumulative knowledge that has been gained through one’s programmatic work (similar to the high profile Advances in Experimental Social Psychology series). We will also consider manuscripts that describe up-and-coming research programs that have already shown promise on cutting-edge topics, as well as manuscripts that describe new data from large-scale empirical research projects. We envision the Advances in Culture and Psychology series to also showcase work from other disciplines, given that culture research is inherently interdisciplinary.

We extend our sincere gratitude to many people who have helped in the design and implementation of the series. First, we thank members of the Advances in Culture and Psychology Advisory board, which provides advice and ideas for the series, including Patricia Greenfield (University of California, Los Angeles), Yoshi Kashima (University of Melbourne), Shinobu Kitayama (University of Michigan), Mark Schaller (University of British Columbia), Richard Shweder (University of Chicago), and Colleen Ward (Victoria University of Wellington). We are grateful to Mark Zanna (University of Waterloo), the Editor of the Advances in Experimental Social Psychology series, for his sage advice on the structure of the series. We thank Oxford University Press, and Lori Handleman in particular, for their support in launching the series. We also thank our respective institutions, the University of Maryland, the University of Illinois, and Nanyang Technological University, for their support. Finally, we thank Harry Triandis, a pioneer in the field, who has inspired us throughout the years with his wisdom and his friendship.

Michele J. Gelfand
College Park, Maryland

C-Y Chiu

Ying-Yi Hong

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