The study regarding the ways in which individuals from different cultures relate to the process of self-improvement, to the development of one's personality, has become a specific approach in the in current research.
In this paper is presented a new concept - cultural psychology – which supports the idea that the psychic processes, individual’s behaviors are directly correlated with the type of culture in which they were raised and educated. Extensive studies made by American and Japanese researchers (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Shweder, 1990) point to the significant influence of cultural spheres/ factors on personality evolution and development. The present paper aims to describe how culture models contribute to the maintenance of positive/critical self-views, that is, self-motivation for the purpose of self-improvement.
Certain self-improvement tendencies are analyzed, in correlation with different or common cultural practices in the analyzed cultures (American and Japanese), such as: intrapsychic tendency versus independence, reward for excellence in American schools versus self-reflection practices (hansa) in Japan, malleability of the self, as well as elements of incremental theories.
The paper emphasizes that cultural elements can be a useful tool for highlighting the psychological mechanisms underlying cultural differences. Intercultural comparisons allow us to test hypotheses about the types of psychological processes that would arise if social rules were different. As a result of these findings, we can say that a culturally informed psychology offers a new perspective from which human nature can be perceived and understood.
Keywords: personality, development, cultural psychology, self-improvement, cultural differences