PSYC3042 Intercultural Diversity and Indigenous Psychology

Graduate Diploma Course Unit

PSYC3042 Intercultural Diversity and Indigenous Psychology

Duration: One trimester

Level: 3rd year

Credit points: 3 (out of total of 24 points)

Prerequisites: PSYC1012, PSYC1022, PSYC1032, PSYC2012

Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus and Online Delivery

Core/elective: Bachelor of Psychological Science: Core: Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science: Core

Unit co-ordinator: Dr Ran Shi

Unit description

This unit provides an overview of the principles and practice of cross-cultural psychology. It begins with an introduction to culture, social identity and group behaviour, as well as important considerations in cross-cultural research. This will be followed by an exploration of major theories and research evidence for cross-cultural differences in key areas of psychology, including cognition, perception, psychosexual development, health, personality and psychopathology. Cross-cultural differences within social and organisational behaviour are also studied. Finally, there will be a focus on Indigenous psychology, with particular emphasis on Indigenous psychology in Australia.

Unit coordinator

Dr Ran Shi

Level 6, 11 York Street, Sydney


Lecturing staff

Dr Ran Shi and others

Plus guest lectures

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of culture, cultural identity, cultural influence, and prejudice
  • articulate the strengths and limitations of cross-cultural research and develop a research proposal incorporating these
  • demonstrate a familiarity with the key issues faced by minority populations
  • demonstrate knowledge of the major theories and research evidence for cross-cultural differences in key areas of psychology, including cognition, perception, psychosexual development, health, personality and psychopathology
  • demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts of indigenous psychology and how these relate to researching and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in particular
  • demonstrate an awareness of the ethical issues associated with researching and offering psychological interventions to diverse populations

Unit content

  • Introduction to key concepts in cross-cultural psychology and cross-cultural research
  • Enculturation. Migrants, refugees, and second-generation Australian CL
  • Culture and development processes. Cross-cultural differences in cognition, perception and language
  • Cross-cultural differences in gender roles and expectations. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transsexual communities. Cross-cultural differences in physical health and wellbeing
  • Cross-cultural differences in emotion and personality
  • Intercultural diversity in the development, manifestation, and treatment of psychopathology. Culture-bound syndromes
  • Culture and social behaviour. Identity, relationships, cooperation and aggression
  • Culture and organisations
  • Introduction to key concepts in Indigenous Psychology. Overview of historical, social and political constructs relevant to Indigenous psychology understandings and practice in Australia
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Mental health and wellbeing principles and practice

Learning and teaching process

The main content of this unit will be delivered in ten three hour lectures. Smaller, group discussions will take place in the weekly laboratories, allowing for further exploration of key cross-cultural psychology constructs. Especially important will be the development of critical thinking around methodological issues in cross-cultural research and students' own concept of self within a cross-cultural context. Students will research and discuss a chosen topic in intercultural psychology in a seminar presentation, and write a research proposal aimed at investigating key issues not addressed by current literature. A final exam will assess knowledge and understanding of intercultural and indigenous psychology.

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of core topics in psychology. These topics include abnormal psychology, biological bases of behaviour, cognition, information processing and language, learning, lifespan developmental psychology, perception, social psychology and intercultural diversity and indigenous psychology.
  2. Research methods in psychology. This attribute covers an understanding of the characteristics of the science of psychology and the different and varied research methods used by psychologists. It also includes the acquisition of practical skills in laboratory-based research and other methods, the design of studies to address psychological questions, critical analysis, the formulation of testable hypotheses, the choice of an appropriate methodology, the question of reliability and validity and their meanings and operations, the analysis of data, and the writing of reports.
  3. Critical thinking skills. The attribute includes the application of scientific method to the study of mental and behavioural problems, the examination of other modes of understanding the world and the development of other world views, and recognition of the fallacies and the biases that can affect human thinking and analysis.
  4. Values, research and professional ethics. This attribute includes the evaluation of the behaviour of psychologists in psychological research and other professional contexts and is in the context of the Australian Psychological Society “Code of Ethics” and the Australian “National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce”. Values and professional ethics must also be understood and evaluated in the context of social ethical principles and ethical conduct in legal, medical and institutional behaviour.
  5. Communication skills. Students need to learn how to communicate effectively orally in various settings (group discussion, presentations, both formal and informal) for various purposes. Written communication, in the form of written reports, should be according to professionally accepted formats. In psychology we follow the American Psychological Association structure and formatting conventions.
  6. Learning and the application of psychology. This attribute includes the application of knowledge of legislative frameworks and the application of knowledge about laws and conventions in work settings, consumer and carer participation and in the general matter of the conduct of application of psychology. It also considers how there may be variation of legislation across different areas of application. 
    Students also need to be cognisant of the need to sustain independent learning for professional and personal development over their life, in the changing social and cultural practices in society and in the practice and development of the scientific basis of psychology.

Assessment summary



Word Count

Submission Week

10 minute seminar presentation

Critical review of research related to a specific psychological
construct within a cultural group. Must include:
1. summary of research
2. identification of gaps in the research
3. development of a tentative research question

Learning outcomes: a, b, c

5 minutes discussion time will be encouraged after the
presentation. Responses during this time will not be 
assessed. Students are encouraged to use this discussion 
to reflect on how to proceed in developing their research



5, 6, 7, 8

Research proposal

Builds on the presentation for Assessment A.

Essay format including:

1. critical review of research findings
2. identification of gaps in the research
3. Articulation of research question and specific hypothesis
to be tested
4. Methodology for proposed research, including participant
recruitment (inclusion/exclusion criteria); method for data 
collection (e.g. interviews/questionnaires, disability support);
and any ethical issues to be addressed. This section must
include justifications for each choice which should be 
consistent with the critical review of research findings.

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, f





The examination is a combination of multiple-choice questions
and short answers covering the unit curriculum including
material presented in lectures, laboratory/tutorials and in
prescribed reading.

Learning outcomes: a, b, c, d, e, f


No word count


Special provisions

Attendance at laboratories is required.

Recommended text

Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L. (2008). Culture and psychology (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Garvey, D. (2008). Indigenous identity in contemporary psychology: Dilemmas, developments, directions. Melbourne, Australia: Thomson

Other significant references

Purdie, N., Dudgeon, P., & Walder, R. (2010). Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice. Available online:

Relevant journals

Readings will be available for class discussion throughout the trimester. Online access to a range of psychological journals is available through EBSCOhost, through the library eResources tab in the ACAP Current Students website

Important journals include:

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Journal of Human Behaviour and Learning
Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology
Journal of Counselling Psychology
Journal of Intercultural Relations
Psychological Bulletin
Psychological Science
Transcultural Psychiatry

Links to other online resources are provided through the online class space.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.