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Article

Ethics  

Alan C. Tjeltveit

How has ethics been connected with the science and profession of psychology? Has ethics been essential to psychology? Or have psychologists increasingly developed objective psychological understandings free of ethical biases? Is ethics in psychology limited to research ethics and professional ethics? Understanding the various connections among ethics and psychology requires conceptual clarity about the many meanings of ethics and related terms (such as moral, ideal, and flourishing). Ethics has included, but goes beyond, research and professional ethics, since ideas about what is good or bad, right or wrong, obligatory or virtuous have shaped psychological inquiry. In moral psychology, psychologists have sought to understand the psychology of ethical dimensions of persons, such as prejudice or altruism. Some psychologists have worked to minimize ethical issues in psychology in general, but others embraced psychologies tied to ethical visions, like advancing social justice. Many ethical issues (beyond professional ethics) have also been entangled in professional practice, including understanding the problems (“not good” states of affairs) for which clients seek help and the (“good”) goals toward which psychologists helped people move. Cutting across the various ways ethics and psychology have been interconnected is an enduring tension: Although psychologists have claimed expertise in the science of psychology and in the provision of psychological services, they have had no disciplinary expertise that equips them to determine what is good, right, obligatory, and virtuous despite the fact that ethical issues have often been deeply intertwined with psychology.

Article

Cultures of Honor  

Patricia M. Rodriguez Mosquera

Honor is complex, deeply relational, and important in many cultures and social groups. A definition of honor as multifaceted and consisting of a set of interrelated honor codes, i.e., the honor-as-multifaceted approach to honor, is presented and discussed by Rodriguez Mosquera. This definition provides researchers the conceptual boundaries of honor as a construct as well as methodological guidelines on how to operationalize honor in empirical research. Furthermore, the honor-as-multifaceted approach provides researchers with a definition of cultures of honor as those in which honor codes become culturally shared psychological concerns that individuals evaluate as important to their self-esteem and self-concept, thereby influencing their cognitions, motivations, emotions, and behaviors. The Honor Scale measures honor codes in line with this definition. A review of existing empirical research on honor in a wide variety of cultures and social groups is also presented and discussed. Some of the work reviewed is cross-cultural in nature, whereas other work focuses on how honor operates in particular cultures or social groups (e.g., British Muslims; Moroccan Dutch and Turkish Dutch youth; Southern Italian criminal organizations; the Canadian Army). The reviewed research provides empirical support for the honor-as-multifaceted approach and demonstrates the centrality of honor codes in a variety of psychological and social processes, including personality, the negotiation of gendered roles within the family, attitudes toward in-group members, emotions in response to threats to collective honor, intergroup conflict, the negotiation of power in intergroup relations, in-group identification processes, and prosocial motivations. Thus, the reviewed research shows that honor codes play an important role in processes at the different levels of analysis typically studied in the social sciences—individual, interpersonal, group, cultural—thereby making honor an important topic of inquiry for psychologists and other social scientists. Avenues for future research are also discussed.

Article

A History of the Concepts of Harmony in Chinese Culture  

Louise Sundararajan

This historical overview of the concepts of harmony in Chinese culture situates the topic in the ecological context of a strong-ties society that fosters a type of rationality that privileges symmetry over asymmetry. Analysis of the discourse of harmony focuses on the texts of two native schools of thought—Confucianism and Taoism—and briefly mentions Buddhism (a religion imported from India). The modern history of harmony has just begun but is already portentous. The turbulent course of China’s rapid modernization suggests the possibility that as China transitions from a strong-ties society to the weak-ties global market, harmony may be encountering, for the first time, contradictions that defy harmonization. Whatever the future holds for the Chinese legacy of harmony, its contribution to the happiness and well-being of the individuals in their intimate relationship with self and others is likely to remain unchallenged.