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What Culture Promotes in Terms of Emotion, Cognition, and Motivation

A psychologist frequently faces complex challenges when treating patients from various backgrounds and experiences. According to the APA's Ethical Principles, psychologists should promote and protect civil and human rights. Therefore, psychologists strive to serve the people they work with while minimizing any additional harm that may ensue (Psychological Association, 2017).

Therapists are conscious of and respectful of cultural, individual, and role distinctions, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic position. They consider these aspects while dealing with members of other groups (Psychological Association).

Culture refers to the complex information frameworks shared by a large group of individuals with meaningful knowledge and understanding, acquired experience, beliefs, and behavior resulting from interpersonal learning (Texas A&M University, Nd). Developed by a group of people throughout generations through individual and collective effort, values, emotions, meanings, hierarchies, religion, cognitions of time, responsibilities, geographic information, concepts of the universe, and material things and possessions are all examples of what are referred to as cultural artifacts (Texas A&M University).

In its broadest sense, it refers to conduct that has been intentionally developed. Culture is a way of life made up of norms and customs, both formally established and unwritten. Traditional concepts and, more importantly, the values inextricably connected to those concepts form the essential effectiveness of cultural context (Texas A&M University, Nd). To have a beneficial influence and outcomes on the sessions relevant to the client's requirements, a psychologist needs to comprehend, evaluate, and assess the behavior impacts and social elements linked with the client's personality traits because no two people are the same.

It is essential to have a good understanding of the client's cultural background since the client's cultural background may be influenced by their genes, their nature, or the experiences they have gained throughout their growth. In addition, the customer's cultural identification can also be influenced by the setting in which they were raised.

Additionally, when understanding and embracing each client's identity, it is essential to pay attention to how the client's cultural beliefs manifest themselves emotionally, cognitively, and motivationally, as well as the reasons behind the various behavioral processes.

Emotive Cultures

Emotions are constructed out of experiences, which are then shaped by their surroundings. As a result, there are variations in the expression of some feelings based on culture. In cultures encouraging individualism, such as Western culture, low-arousal emotions are not as highly regarded or promoted as high-arousal emotions (Lim, 2016).

Culture limits how people feel and express emotions within a particular cultural setting. It molds how individuals ought to feel in specific circumstances as well as the methods in which they ought to communicate their feelings. Not only is emotional state dictated by one's genetics, but it may also be impacted by one's environment and social or cultural circumstances (Lim).

Emotions are constructed from experiences, which are then shaped by their surroundings. As a result, there are variations in the expression of some feelings based on culture. For example, in cultures encouraging individualism, such as Western culture, low-arousal emotions are not as highly regarded or promoted as high-arousal emotions (Lim).

Culture limits how people feel and express emotions within a particular cultural setting. It molds how individuals ought to think in specific circumstances as well as the methods in which they ought to communicate their feelings. Not only is emotional state dictated by one's genetics, but it may also be impacted by one's environment and social or cultural circumstances (Lim).

The nature of emotions most frequently experienced and affect valuation are two examples of emotional aspects that vary according to culture. Other examples include how emotions can be expressed on one's face, facial expression, and recognition of emotions. Researchers have investigated and reported on the cultural distinctions in various areas of emotional expression (Lim, 2016).

However, these differences are "common characteristics that give the standards for seeing, believing, evaluating, communicating, and behaving among persons who share a language, a history time, and a geographic region." Myers stated that emotion is one of psychology's most significant research subjects because of emotional valence and arousal's influence on brain activity and cognitive activities such as decision-making and recollection (Lim, 2016).

It is well-accepted that emotions are a widespread occurrence connected to our cognition, decisions, actions, and overall development. It is innate and essential to the operation of the brain, and it is formed and evolved when individuals interact in the processes of their respective sociocultural contexts. Emotions are complex, and when a person progresses and experiences transformations and adaptations in their emotional life, it indicates innovative psychological growth. It gives way to a new cultural context (Cong-Lem, 2022).

The Intersection of Culture, Cognitive, and Motivational Processes

Cognitions are mental events that include ideas, beliefs, expectations, plans, objectives, strategies, evaluations, attributions, and self-concept, among other characteristics. People's thoughts and mental processes might be considered a cognitive source of motivation (Reeve, 2018).

Disparities in cognitive thought patterns among members of societies that are, in many respects, comparable to one another but exhibit varying degrees of collectivism. For instance, research shows that Eastern Europe and Southern Italy usually have more collectivist cultures than Western Europe and Northern Italy (Winerman, 2006). This was demonstrated to be the case when analyzing Northern Italy and Northern Europe to Eastern Europe and Southern Italy. Asian Americans are frequently referenced with some mixture of cultural practices from both Asia and the West. Interconnectedness across cultures and other characteristics of society influences cognition (Winerman).

Influential psychologists need to determine the implicit normative tasks that different cultures hold for what people individually experience in their lives, what motivations are behind their internal characteristics and unique configurations of the relationship between themselves and others, and what powerful influences are reflected in the differences between cultures (Markus & Kitayama, 1991).

The distinct point of view should be unrestricted to Westernized culture or Western European nations and cultures. Instead, an exemplified model of interdependence should be examined for other cultures, such as those of Asian, Japanese, African, Latin American, and even the American South, amongst a diverse array of other civilizations (Markus & Kitayama).

When determining the best therapy method for a patient, it is vital to consider the patient's beliefs and culture and the specifics of the problem at hand. The Humanistic Approach to Individual Therapy may be beneficial when working with clients who have been profoundly affected and influenced by events that occurred in the past. When the treating therapist has limited awareness of the cultural background of the individual being treated.

In addition to humanistic treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), also known as talk therapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and psychodynamic therapies, may be helpful approaches in bridging cultural divides with the application of humility and active listening. This is particularly true if the therapist is unfamiliar with the client's cultural and cognitive systematic views.

A state can affect many psychological processes, including perception, attention, emotion, and motivation, and can also affect the actions that these processes create. Intrinsic and extrinsic behaviors play a role in the generation of motivation (Worthy et al., 2020).

Both intrinsic and extrinsic behaviors are what drives motivation. A state can impact the behaviors produced by psychological processes, including perception, attention, emotion, and motivation. Motivation is the primary factor that drives people to take particular actions toward their goals (Kim & Lawrie, 2019).

Culture emerges due to human beings adapting their behaviors to meet the challenges and requirements of their physical and social contexts. Significant progress has been made in understanding how cultural motives differ (Kim & Lawrie).

The most critical conduits of cultural psychology and behavior patterns are the interactions between people. Therefore, understanding how to exert cultural influence requires placing individuals in their social environment. Therefore, depending on the times and region in which a culture is found, diverse ethnic groups are motivated by nurtured values. In addition, various psychological, behavioral, and relational processes are motivated by cultural objectives (Kim & Lawrie).

For instance, people acquire their gender roles as part of a cultural process, and the same can be said for their sense of obligation toward their family members.

In essence, there is evidence to suggest that individuals from non-Western cultures have a propensity to "somatize" their suffering, whereas persons from Western cultures tend to "psychologize" their misery (Shiraev et al., 2020).

The traditional Asian values of responsibility, obligation, compliance, reciprocity, and avoidance of conflict, criticism, and humiliation are the basis of the high regard traditional Asians hold for interpersonal connectivity (Shiraev et al.).

In contrast to the Western culture, which holds the belief and practices that the body and the mind are two distinct entities that must be treated independently, as well as the mindset and awareness of embracing the complexities of mental health, the Eastern culture acknowledges that the mind and body are interconnected (Shiraev et al.).

In addition, factors include the negative stigma associated with mental illness and the lack of proper resources for early intervention. People of Western cultures may have a higher somatic awareness level than Western cultures. Additional evidence from linguistics shows that the higher emphasis on physical cues in everyday life among East Asians may be traced back to past practices ingrained in Asian language and medicine and may have been passed down from generation to generation. Similar patterns of culture also appear in other East Asian societies (Shiraev et al.).

Therapy and Cultural Humbleness

In Conclusion, differences in psychological processes and behaviors across cultures illustrate how culturally valued objectives influence intrapersonal and interpersonal behavior. In today's multicultural society, established norms of conduct that are common among members of one group may strike members of other groups as odd or even inadmissible (Shiraev et al., 2020).

It is vital to have a solid grasp of a client's thorough evaluation and prevent losing points in diagnosis by having a solid understanding of the culture and environmental dynamics of the client. Moreover, the application and impact of emotion, cognition, and motivation make each unique.

An insufficient understanding of a person's cultural history and variety may harm the relationship between the patient and the client. As a result, the patient can lose hope, faith in the treatment, and trust in the therapist as a trustworthy individual.

If this is not the case, the client may have concluded that all therapists need more qualifications and are competent in their professions.

When deciding on a course of treatment, it is essential to consider the patient's beliefs, culture, and nature of the problem at hand.

It is possible to postpone or impair a client's general mental health if there is an inability to grasp and accept the systemic beliefs, cultural norms, and various value systems that constitute the basis of a client's mental health comorbidity and psychological pain.

By gaining a deeper understanding of the client's background and current circumstance, it is possible to unearth hidden challenges and facts that can contribute to formulating a more efficient approach and treatment plan. Furthermore, simply showing cultural humility and genuine care for the client's whole being can spark the beginning of hope in their hearts for their therapeutic journey.

To summarize, each client will have cultural differences despite having the same ethnicity. Because each individual's upbringing and environment will differ, one should never make assumptions about a client based solely on nationality or ethnicity when working as a professional psychologist.

Complete elimination of personal biases and being fully cognizant of them by recognizing them for themselves provides clients with the ultimate promise of a therapeutic session.

For example, a client may have sought therapy because they are experiencing difficulties such as an inability to adjust to their new environment in the United States and the Western culture. This client may have grown up in a third-world nation and been exposed to poverty during childhood.

Furthermore, the client is treated by a psychologist who pays taxes, is not eligible for government help, and has a different perspective about refugees and illegal or undocumented individuals residing in the US. The psychologist's political preferences and prejudices may cloud his fair judgment regarding providing treatment and the appropriate resources to the client.

In this case, the treating psychologist's, the treating psychologist's viewpoint about politics and refugees coming to the United States and feeding off of the United States government may see or feel that the client's position may not be in dire need as the client never contributes toward taxes. Cultural biases in clinical settings can impede the development of therapeutic sessions and modify treatment recommendations, which can have negative consequences.

Another example is based on personal experience, growing up exposed to living overseas, culture, upbringing, and personal experiences that helped and shaped how the world views personally perceived the world. However, it is vital to know and recognize one self's place and purpose in a clinical setting, and even in the line of duty at the moment, to not base what is typical for the self on what others need. The client is the expert on their culture and should be heard and included in the therapeutic journey. This is because professionalism and the client's well-being should come before all other considerations, and it is paramount. This can be accomplished by demonstrating cultural humility and acknowledging each client's feelings, cognition, and motivation without making any assumptions about them. Moreover, it is an environment free from moral and personal judgment and a secure place where they can openly discuss their deepest and darkest trauma, historical trauma, mental health issues, anxieties, and worries that hinder them from performing their best and living their stellar life.

Because different points of view from across the community might affect life experiences and sentiments that may shape one's biases in both positive and negative ways, which could cause clients more harm than good, remember to serve with an open mind on how similar or unlike they are to other people's experiences.

A person may originate from the same ethnic group but may have had different ways of life, which affects their belief systems or religious convictions concerning life and the afterlife. One of the most beautiful aspects of accepting cultural variety is the complexity it conveys with it.


Cong-Lem, N. (2022, June 8). Emotion and its relation to cognition from vygotsky's Perspective - European Journal of Psychology of Education. SpringerLink.

Kim, H. S., & Lawrie, S. I. (2019). (PDF) culture and motivation - researchgate. Researchgate .

Lim, N. (2016, June). Cultural differences in emotion: Differences in emotional arousal level between the east and the West. Integrative medicine research.

Markus , H. R., & Kitayama , S. (1991). Culture and the self. implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation.

Psychological Association , A. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychological Association.

Reeve, J. (2018). Understanding Motivation and Emotion . Vitalsource Bookshelf Online.

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Winerman, L. (2006, February). The culture-cognition connection. Monitor on Psychology.

Worthy, L. D., Lavigne, T., & Romero, F. (2020, July 27). Motivation. Culture and Psychology.



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