Culturally Determined Family Dysfunction
In this chapter, it will be explained how culture-bound disturbances ("bugs") in a family's functioning can be described explicitly and rigorously in the framework of the information-processing model presented in chapter 7. By formulating such explicit and rigorous descriptions of dysfunctions in the family, the therapist pinpoints and clearly marks the targets of culturally competent family therapeutic interventions. Principles for "debugging," that is, removing culture-bound bugs and restoring the system's capacity for good functional adaptation, are formulated and illustrated.
A general, overriding, universal principle hypothesized to underlie human information-processing systems is simplicity. That is to say, the set of programs "prefers" to process information in the simplest possible manner, with a minimum of redundancies, inconsistencies and complications.
The principle of simplicity is not an arbitrary dogma. Various versions of it underlie, under different names, numerous scientific theories dealing with human or natural systems. A tiny sample includes homeostasis in biology (see Gottfried, 1993; Purves, 1995), and in general systems theory (see Bertalanffy , 1973), Festinger's cognitive consistency ( 1962), Piaget's equilibrium ( 1971), Chomsky's simplicity ( 1965) and Freud's preservation and catexis of mental energy ( 1949).
In the context of information processing, the principle of simplicity can be explicated through a set of metaprograms. These are higher-level programs