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IACCP2016 Keynote Speakers

Ed Diener

Professor Ed Diener

University of Illinois, USA

IACCP2016 Keynote Speaker

Abstract title: “A Cross-Cultural View of Well-Being”

With 12,000 published studies a year related to the science of subjective well-being (SWB), there have been impressive advances in knowledge. The talk will focus on five intriguing topics related to culture and well-being: 1. There are universal predictors of subjective well-being across the world related to the fulfillment of basic human needs. 2. However, there are also culture-specific predictors of SWB. For example, exhibiting the behaviors and characteristics that are valued in one’s cultures – cultural congruence – heightens feelings of SWB. 3. A promising development is the use of societal measures of SWB to inform policy deliberations. For instance, income security programs and green space seem to enhance SWB. 4. One important area of scholarship is the definition and measurement of SWB across cultures, including the valuation of feelings and satisfaction across cultures, as well as understanding response styles that can create differences in scores. 5. A new area of research revolves around the beneficial effects of SWB on later outcomes such as health and longevity, social relationships, citizenship, and work productivity. Because most of the outcome research has been conducted in western individualistic societies that highly value SWB, a critical issue is whether the findings will generalize to other cultural contexts. Although progress has been exciting, there are huge research opportunities in each of these areas for scholars interested in culture.


Professor Ying-Yi Hong

CUHK Business School at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

IACCP2016 Keynote Speaker

Abstract Title: “Do Multicultural Identities Challenge Traditions or Create the Future?”

This talk attempts to address the conference theme of “Honoring Traditions and Creating the Future” from the angle of multicultural identities. As the global mobility of individuals and social groups has become the “new normal,” it is urgent to understand how individuals experience contacts with multiple cultures in their daily life. Although multiple cultural exposures have been shown to have beneficial effects (such as enhancing cultural frame switching and creativity), it could also threaten individuals’ own cultural identity. To understand the interplay between these two opposing consequences, I will delineate the concepts of Multicultural Mind and Multicultural Self. Multicultural mind entails acquiring and applying knowledge of new cultures. This process could benefit creativity and innovation. By contrast, multicultural self entails using cultural traditions to definite the self, a process that could lead to negative reactions toward new culture if individuals feel that the new culture could erode or contaminate their own culture. I will discuss factors that contribute to positive and negative effects of multiple cultural exposures, and buttress my points using empirical findings from brain, social cognitive and behavioral research. Finally we will explore how the future of mankind depends on mutual respect and active learning between different cultural traditions, and how multicultural identities will play a key role in the process.

Pete by sally foto cropped

Professor Peter J. Richerson

University of California Davis, USA

IACCP2016 Keynote Speaker

Abstract Title: “The Evolution of Cultural Differences”

Cultural differences arise rather quickly between even semi-isolated groups. In part this is due to the fact that cultural evolution is a comparatively rapid process, but in part it is because of the active symbolic marking of groups. Social identities are important to individuals and they are quick to adopt common dress, dialect, religious practices and so forth that reflect these differences. Symbolic differentiation can occur on quite small scales, such as neighborhoods in a city, occupational groups, and workplace organizations. The ethnolinguistic group is a classic example, but non-trivial groups exist at quite large scales, such as the great religions. Symbolic markers in turn structure social networks and the flow of ideas, allowing non-symbolic differences to grow up between groups. Mathematical models suggest that symbolic marking could have arisen to damp down the flow ideas from group to group. On an ecological gradient, your neighbors may have many practices useful in their environment but maladaptive in yours. Also your neighbors may have social customs that fit poorly with customs in your group. Thus, symbolically marked groups are a little like organic species. However, if foreign ideas or practices are sufficiently attractive they will spread across all but the strongest symbolic boundaries. Cultural differences range from maladaptive to neutral to adaptive and a lot of work is required to tell the difference. Although violent struggles sometimes break out along symbolic boundaries, most boundaries are peaceful most of the time.


Professor Junko Tanaka-Matsumi

Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

IACCP2016 Keynote Speaker

Abstract Title: “100 years of research on the relationship between culture and psychopathology: Emic and etic approaches reappraised”

In what ways does culture matter when clinicians work with their clients and patients in clinically-relevant settings across cultures? In this presentation, I trace the dramatic changes in theoretical and empirical approaches to cross-cultural psychopathology and appraise the current state of knowledge on the relationship between culture and psychopathology. Historically, Emil Kraepelin (1904) reported observational accounts from Java of the “very remarkable differences” in forms of psychopathology possibly as a function of then undefined socio-cultural factors. Kraepelin’s bio-medical approach to psychopathology looms large in the successive editions of psychiatric classification, particularly after DSM-III (1980). It took nearly a century to recognize the role of culture in psychiatric diagnosis; DSM-IV (1994) developed an Outline for Cultural Formulation (OCF) for the evaluation of the individual’s cultural background and DSM-5 (2013) developed the OCF Interview. Research shows, however, that patients and clinicians have their own models of mental illness in specific socio-cultural context, a finding of tremendous importance for culturally-informed assessment of psychopathology. Alternative approaches to studies of psychopathology have therefore given priority to developing assessment of the socio-cultural context and its interaction with individuals and groups presenting abnormal behaviors. These views have focused on emic or culture-specific concepts of mental disorders and culturally sanctioned methods of treatment. I compare and contrast major findings of psychopathology research from etic (universal) and emic (culture-specific) perspectives, and try to answer the globally pressing question posed at the beginning of this abstract.

Walter J. Lonner Distinguished Invited Lecturer


Professor Laurence J. Kirmayer

McGill University, Canada

IACCP2016 Invited Lecture

Abstract Title: “Embodiment and Enactment in Cultural Psychiatry: From Neurophenomenology to Situated Practice”

Cultural psychiatry is concerned with understanding the nature and implications of human cultural diversity for psychopathology, illness experience, and intervention. The emerging paradigms of embodiment and enactment in cognitive science can provide cultural psychiatry with ways to approach this diversity in terms of variations in bodily and intersubjective experience, narrative practices, and discursive formations. While evolutionary history reaches all the way up from brain circuitry to cultural forms of life, culture reaches all the way down to neuroplastic circuitry and epigenetic regulation; hence, human biology is fundamentally cultural biology. This presentation will outline an approach to cultural neurophenomenology and psychopathology through metaphor theory, which brings together the interplay of culturally shaped developmental processes that underlie embodied experience with narrative practices that are structured by ideologies of personhood and social positioning. The new paradigm has broad implications for mental health theory, research and practice, which will be illustrated with examples from the cross-cultural study of mental disorders.

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