Expanding the interpretive power of psychological science by attending to culture

Laura M. Brady*, Stephanie A. Fryberg, Yuichi Shoda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


A lack of interpretive power (i.e., the ability to understand individuals' experiences and behaviors in relation to their cultural contexts) undermines psychology's understanding of diverse psychological phenomena. Building interpretive power requires attending to cultural influences in research. We describe three characteristics of research that lacks interpretive power: normalizing and overgeneralizing from behaviors and processes of people in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) contexts; making non-WEIRD people and processes invisible; and misapplying WEIRD findings in non-WEIRD contexts. We also describe research in which leveraging interpretive power prevented these negative consequences. Finally, using the culture-cycle framework, we outline a vision for creating culture change within psychology by implementing culture-conscious practices to guide the formation of research questions, empirical design, and data analysis and interpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11406-11413
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 6 2018


  • Culture
  • Culture change
  • Interpretive power
  • Scientific norms
  • Scientific practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Expanding the interpretive power of psychological science by attending to culture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this