Gender and sex research is important for our understanding of a variety of subjects, including psychology, business and economics, education and linguistics. A key reason why cross-cultural studies are important is that they help us test theories about human behavior that may not be applicable to all cultures.
The first step in doing cross-cultural research is to identify comparable culture patterns. This can be done by comparing results from tests in different cultures.
Understanding Sex and Gender in Different Cultures
Gender roles and gender stereotypes are influenced by culture. These influences are often invisible because they take place in people’s everyday lives. This is why cross-cultural studies are so important. By comparing gender roles in different cultures, researchers can see how these cultural differences impact men and women.
A key issue in cross-cultural research is the selection of study sites. It is important to choose sites that are representative of the cultures being studied. This will help to ensure that the results can be applied to a larger population. In addition, it is important to choose study sites that are matched with the theory being tested.
Early researchers in the field of cultural evolution developed a statistical method called cross-cultural analysis to discover traits that are common to many cultures. This approach was further advanced by George Peter Murdock, who compiled trait lists of cultural universals from ethnographies written by Boas, Malinowski and others into the cross-cultural database known as the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF).
The first president of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research was Beatrice Whiting and other women researchers played a key role in the development of the SCCR. However, men have dominated the organization over the years.
Psychologists have uncovered dozens of ways that men and women differ in behavior and cognition. Some theories, such as social role theorists, assume that these differences are solely the result of cultural influence. Others, such as those that rely on behavior genetics, endocrinology and brain imaging, take a more biological stance in explaining these differences.
Understanding Sex and Gender in the United States
The research methods used in cross-cultural studies can be problematic. They can be criticized for being ‘extractive’ – using a study community to collect data only for the purposes of the researcher’s own scientific and/or professional goals without benefiting the community. This reflects a long history of colonialism in social science, and may act to alienate communities from the research process.
Another issue with cross-cultural studies is that they can be subject to bias. This is when the results of a study are interpreted differently because of the cultural background or context of the participants in the research.
This can be a problem because it is important to have an accurate understanding of the world in order to make unbiased scientific decisions. Another type of bias is when researchers have a preconceived idea about the results of their study before it even begins. This is also a problem because it limits the possibilities of what can be discovered.
A study of indigenous culture in Papua New Guinea found that boys born with female genitalia started to develop male genitals at the age of 12. This finding highlights how cross-cultural studies can help us understand differences between people.
The basic premise of cross-cultural analysis is that statistical cross-cultural comparisons can discover traits that are shared across cultures and generate ideas about cultural universals. This method was developed by early cultural evolutionists like E. B. Tylor, and was greatly advanced by George Peter Murdock, who compiled many ethnographic studies into a database known as the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF).
Understanding Sex and Gender in Europe
As with all studies, the results of cross-cultural research are not always entirely objective and free from bias. For example, the increasing emphasis on studying non-WeIRD societies has meant that these communities are prized as comparative samples for testing theories about human behaviour without careful consideration of why specific populations should be included or not. This approach can unwittingly reinforce an ‘us vs. them’ framework that has been problematic for many anthropologists .
Another important issue is how the methodology of cross-cultural research can be misapplied or used as part of a wider colonial project. A number of anthropologists, particularly in the fields of cultural and sexual anthropology, have written about the ways that the cross-cultural method can be applied to support racist or imperialist ideas.
Despite this, the field of cross-cultural study has continued to grow. Today, almost all academic disciplines have a component of cross-cultural comparisons, and there are dedicated journals that publish only this type of work. However, it is important to note that a successful cross-cultural study must have a clear hypothesis, a statistically sound analysis, and dependent variables that are linked statistically with one or more independent variables (e.g., culture, ethnicity, gender). The cross-cultural method also has to be understood as a means of expanding our knowledge rather than simply confirming or exploring some existing theory.
Understanding Sex and Gender in Asia
Generally speaking, cross-cultural studies are research designs that look at human behaviors across cultures. The goal is to identify if a psychological finding in one culture can be applied to another. This approach can be problematic, however. For example, if a study only uses participants from a specific culture, the results will only reflect that culture. This can lead to misinterpretation of findings and may also cause the results to be biased.
In the past, many cross-cultural studies aimed to understand how different societies develop differently. This was based on the theory that all societies progress through an evolutionary series of distinct stages. For instance, Edward Burnett Tylor posited that hunter-gatherer societies evolved to barbarism and then civilization. More recently, anthropologists have sought to expand the scope of their study sites beyond WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich) societies.
Some of the most interesting studies on sex and gender have come from cross-cultural studies in Asia. These studies have compared cultural differences in how gender is understood, perceived and celebrated. The results of these studies have demonstrated that the traditional Western binary model of male and female is not universal. Some cultures even go beyond this model, with some allowing individuals to choose a gender role that is not congruent with their biological sex. This is an important finding that can help us better understand the diversity of gender in the world.