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Theme: Student Populations and Diversity

The typical American introductory psychology textbook and its
coverage of cultural diversity

Helen Pennington
School of Psychology
Massey University

American introductory psychology textbooks are widely used in New Zealand and Australian universities, and are likely to have a major influence on our students' perceptions of psychology. The paper reviews the published literature on these textbooks, and describes a study of their coverage of cultural diversity. The study, using content analysis of a sample of 10 recently published textbooks, found evidence for improved coverage over the last decade, but noticeable variation across textbooks in the coverage of specific cultural topics. There is also some mismatch between the textbooks and the views of cross-cultural psychologists, with respect to the emphasis given to particular cultural diversity topics, and cultural themes do not seem particularly well integrated with other textbook material. The paper ends with practical suggestions for using typical introductory psychology textbooks.

Full Paper in MS Word

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