Cultural Diversity is an increasing worldwide movement. As such, an improved understanding of the values, expectations and beliefs that drive behaviors of different cultures will be required, a broader outlook of interconnected, inter-dependent world views and effective communication integration.
While cultural diversity provides people with different ways of thinking, ways of seeing, hearing, and interpreting the world, beyond local and nationalistic perspectives, interacting with people from different cultures, requires a solid understanding of how their values, attitudes, behaviors and communication styles differ. For example, when interacting with someone from another culture, understanding the norms of that culture is essential; an enhanced communication skill is required.
The biggest challenge we face today is the understanding of socio-cultural differences. This diversity, without resorting to stereotypes, is likely to be the key to eliminating disparities with the understanding that in its purest form, there is no such thing as stereotypes; no one person is exactly like another person and no individual is a carbon copy of another member of a group.
There is great interest in this area of health with respect to determining individual performance in all walks of life. I believe when the field of view is broadened to encompass all aspects of a situation, during the relevance processing, a person can add to or subtract from available sensory data and either narrowly or broadly attend to a situation or event to reach a final structuring of a conclusion, inference or perception, and serve a dynamically experiential learning process for all parties involved.
It would seem that the perception of relevance plays a integral part in this scenario. Determining a focus in any given perceptual field, could narrow the focus to what is believed to be relevant or possible, based on the assumption that an individual will select from a previous experience something that was found to be useful in some way, or avoid or filter out a situation, realities that a previous experience suggested were not useful. According to Howard Earl Gardner (1943), the theory of multiple intelligence plays an important role in determining health and performance.
Intelligence as a capacity for processing information of a particular type, include faculties in varying degrees involving linguistics, logical-mathematical, musical ability; spatial reasoning; kinesthetic; intrapersonal and interpersonal actions; and naturalist performances. Mental ability also factors in this scenario, as it is considered one of the major differences among people that affects their abilities.
Intelligence and consideration
According to Robert J. Sternberg (1997), “Intelligence comprises the mental abilities necessary for adapting to and modifying one’s environment.” Cultural behavior draws much controversy. Although there are circumstances and conditions in our lives that simply come with us at birth; such as ethnic origin, race, the culture into which one is born, etc. These are things, we have no control over and color many of our behavioral patterns and a myriad of other factors.
For example, workers from large urban areas tend to be more skeptical than people from rural areas. The core influence of how our personality and character develops involve personality traits and emotional intelligence which determines the ability to connect with people and embodies factors, such as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.
Skills also weigh heavily as a basis for determining career choices, skills supply the greatest criteria. The number of useful skills one posses, the greater the chance of securing employment and job advancement. Thanks to human adaptation, cultures do differ. Yet, cross-cultural psychologists also see an essential universality of all people.
Differences Verses Commonalities
For example, despite differences, cultures have a number of norms in common, such as respecting privacy in friendships and disapproving of incest. There are also commonalities in universal belief dimensions, such as cynicism, social complexity, reward for application (one will succeed if he/she tries), spirituality, fate control (fate determines ones success or failure), as well as universal status norms and norms of war, among others.
Much can be learned from one another when a conscious attempt is made. To understand people’s beliefs which is what they assume to be true, and to understand other cultures in a consideration of the lens through which their reality is being created; and to understand the unspoken assumptions, including beliefs and schema that are being used, provides an excellent open-end, enlightening line of communication.
Then consider alternative lenses, effectively saying lets look at it another way, not to challenge the beliefs or different aspects of a culture but to stand in its framework and respect what you see; essentially look at a particular culture and see it through a different set of lenses.