About Us

Message from the Director

For more than a century, psychology has worked with the assumption that processes in our minds are the same for all normal adult human beings. Based on this assumption, results of psychological investigations conducted primarily in North American populations are often applied to people all over the world. In our laboratory, we argue such assumptions and generalization can no longer go unchallenged. In our increasingly diverse and mobile societies, it is crucial that we understand how human psychology is shaped by culture in fundamental ways.

The research agenda of the Culture and Cognition Lab challenges these assumptions theoretically and empirically. Scholars in our lab and throughout the field have repeatedly found that culture explains variability in a number of psychological functions-cognition, emotion, social perception and social interaction-and related social institutional variables as well. We seek to examine and uncover the psychological mechanisms that drive the underlying relationship between culture and cognition.

Current Projects

The current projects of the Culture and Cognition Lab can be classified by:
  1. Contextualizing the Asian/Holistic Mindset (including Asian religions and philosophy, native dialecticism and its measurements, implicit theories of causality, free will, human nature, and agency);
  2. Reason and Emotion in relation to naive dialecticism and the responses to psychological contradiction (inconsistency, change, and ambiguity);
  3. The Self (including the dialectical self, subjective wellbeing, group identity dynamics, intergroup relations, and biculturalism);
  4. Effects of Culturally Specific Cognitive/Emotional Processes on Social Institutions (law, business, and international relations) and social judgments (creativity, agency, attribution, morality, aesthetics, and human intimate relationships);
  5. and Contributions to Research Methodology (implicit and explicit cultural measurements).on.

Sister Labs

The Culture and Cognition Lab has six sister labs in the U.S. and China. It is joined by:

  • The Berkeley-Tsinghua Program for the Advanced Study in Psychology
  • The Institute of Personality and Social Research
  • The Institute of East Asian Studies
  • The Berkeley Center for Culture and Behavior Studies at the University of California, Berkeley
  • The eHarmony Culture and Relation Studies Lab at Beijing University
  • The Applied Psychology lab at Beijing University
  • The Center for Personality and Social Psychology at Beijing University
  • Center for Contemporary Psychology at Wuhan University
  • and The Behavioral Lab at the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University.
The international collaboration teams supported by the Culture and Cognition Lab have always been remarkably diverse, including current graduate students, post-docs and visiting scholars from different disciplines (psychology, sociology, anthropology, economic, business, education, law, and international relations) and all over the world.

We encourage you to join our efforts in making the Culture and Cognition Lab a place where the general public and academia alike will turn to for knowledge and methods of cross-cultural understanding facilitating communication in a ever increasingly globalized world. You can help us!

Yours truly,

Kaiping Peng, Ph.D
Director, the Culture and Cognition Lab
Department of Psychology
University of California, Berkeley
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