Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology Research

Psychological Theory and Research in Mexico: Critical Reflections

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology Research

Psychological Theory and Research in Mexico: Critical Reflections

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Theorizing requires thinking, wondering about the nature of reality and trying to figure out how it operates. We theorize about human phenomena that we have been part of the human experience for thousands of years (Garcia, 2009; Kantor, 1975). Similarly, we are interested in a reality that is independent from our human existence and external to us but that we can study and understand through our systematic methods and efforts of inquiry (Goode and Hatt, 1976). An effort is made to separate ourselves from the reality created by Solipsitic subjective approaches, Piaget's constructivism and its derivatives (1954), or Vigotsky's social approach (1978) (Garcia, 2003; Gergen, 1996). Many of our conceptualizations or ideas related to psychological reality will inevitably be wrong like it happens at the same reality be physical, chemical, biological, social or cultural because at the end it is the same but analyzed from different views (Piña, Ybarra, Alcalá and Samaniego, 2010). In other words, reality is often deceitful and elusive of our human efforts to understand it and transform it. Obviously, it would be a lot easier to transform reality if we could first understand it. This means that ontogenetic scientific knowledge and understanding should take precedence over technological knowledge. Interestingly however, in the history of humanity, man has first modified his environment in an effort to meet his needs and has subsequently become concerned with trying to understand it (Bernal, 1979; Kantor, 1990). This phenomenon seems evident in the experiences of many businesses that continually modify goods and services while relying on minimal scientific knowledge. In spite of this, they make great profits given that they can make life more comfortable and pleasant for their clients and can create an extraordinary esthetic world that significantly elevates us over all other species. Similarly, in the religious realm, humans usually divinize their existence and create a spiritual world we would all like to access following our death. Nevertheless, neither the business nor the religious worlds aim at describing and explaining reality in the same way that science does.

We must acknowledge that reality's level of complexity varies significantly from one realm or dimension of life to the other. For instance, it is a lot easier for us to explain physical than biological phenomena and it is easier to explain biological than psychological or sociological phenomena.

In the following section we will discuss the influence of the colonialism perpetrated by highly industrialized countries on developing countries, and the devastating effects of those asymmetrical and oppressive relationships on psychological theory-making and research.

COLONIALISM AND PSYCHOLOGY

The influence of highly industrialized countries over smaller or less developed countries is overwhelming. Such influence permeates every dimension of their lives including the social, economic, political and the scientific. Colonialism impacts and modifies people's reality in subtle, seductive and in sometimes brutal ways.

As a result of having a colonial mentality, we tend to believe that any product or service coming from a first world country will inevitably be of better quality than any product or service originating in a Spanish-speaking country. Many of us for instance, will gladly purchase shoes and clothing made in a foreign country if we believe this is a luxury we can afford. The way we communicate and our countless "neologisms" also clearly reflect this suffocating reality. For example, in Mexico a cake made of cheese is called "chisqueik" (Spanish pronunciation for cheesecake) instead of being called "pastel de queso". Similarly, we use the word "maus" (Spanish pronunciation for mouse) to refer to this commonly used computer's wired or wireless control, instead of using a Spanish word to refer to it.

We can also observe that in the world of politics, democracy has been widely adopted throughout the world, and that in the world of economics capitalism and the free markets dominate. …

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