In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section International Psychology

  • Introduction
  • Definitions and Scope
  • Science and Research

Psychology International Psychology
Harold Takooshian, Uwe P. Gielen, Grant J. Rich, Richard S. Velayo
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 September 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0184


International psychology is an emerging field that focuses on psychology as a cross-national and global discipline. While the also-growing specialties of Cultural Psychology, Cross-cultural Psychology, and Intercultural Psychology focus more on the behavior of individuals and groups across regions, international psychology focuses more on the discipline of psychology itself―its organizations, resources, key figures, contexts, regional and global trends, and applications. This includes issues in all facets of psychology: (a) psychological science and how to integrate research findings from many nations; (b) psychological practice and how to adapt psychology and related disciplines across cultures and regions; (c) psychology education and the Teaching of Psychology, or how to internationalize our teaching of psychology courses, integrating technologies, and cross-cultural work; (d) psychology consulting, or how to adapt our consulting to advise clients cross-nationally, such as in disaster intervention or organizational consulting; and (e) psychology advocacy, or how to apply evidence-based concepts to address global issues such as human rights, child welfare, and well-being. This article provides an overview of the emerging specialty of international psychology―looking at its unity and its diversity. It largely focuses on literature in the English language, given the enormous scope of the subject.

Definitions and Scope

Of the 194 independent nations represented at the United Nations, close to half (ninety) are also represented in the International Union of Psychological Sciences (IUPsyS), each with its own indigenous psychology that varies by nation as well as by region (such as Arab psychology, East Asian psychology). Some strong centrifugal (outward) forces such as language, culture, and basic economic conditions separate these indigenous psychologies. Yet an increasing number of centripetal (inward) forces help to unify international psychology―forces such as global and international organizations, conferences, publications, and research teams. A handful of publications provide definitions or descriptions of international and indigenous psychologies. David and Buchanan 2003 offers a concise history and overview of international psychology, while Bullock 2012 reviews the field’s history and updates readers on current developments. Stevens and Gielen 2007 is an important handbook on international psychology that includes chapters on many relevant and core issues, such as chapters detailing the growth of psychology in various parts of the world, and sections demonstrating the scope of the field in terms of theory, research, and practice in global psychology and a chapter on ways for psychologists to become more involved in global psychology. Allwood and Berry 2006 describes the related discipline of indigenous psychology, examining the topic through international perspective. Finally, though written by a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and not a psychologist, Friedman 2005 offers an important analysis of the changing world under globalization that helps contextualize psychology as a discipline that exists and is influenced by trends in the broader world.

  • Allwood, C. A., and J. Berry. 2006. Origins and development of indigenous psychology: An international analysis. International Journal of Psychology 41.4: 243–268.

    DOI: 10.1080/00207590544000013

    In this article, twenty-one key authors review the concept and importance of Indigenous Psychologies (IP).

  • Bullock, M. 2012. International psychology. In Handbook of psychology: History of psychology. 2d ed. Edited by D. K. Freedheim and B. Weiner, 562–596. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    A panoramic overview of international psychology—its history and current status as of 2012.

  • David, H. P., and J. Buchanan. 2003. International psychology. In Handbook of psychology: History of psychology. Vol. 1. Edited by D. K. Freedheim, 509–533. New York: Wiley.

    DOI: 10.1002/0471264385.wei0125

    A concise, highly detailed overview of international psychology—its long history and current status as of 2003.

  • Friedman, T. L. 2005. The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

    A popular account of the intensifying globalization process—of which the internationalization of psychology is but one small facet.

  • Stevens, M. J., and U. P. Gielen, eds. 2007. Toward a global psychology: Theory, research, intervention, and pedagogy. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    This volume presents a broadly based overview of international psychology, as conceived by a group of leading international psychologists.

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