- Universalities and Cultural Differences.
- Closing Holes in West-centric Researches.
- Eastern Philosophies and Transpersonal Psychology.
- Expanding Consciousness and Phenomenological Ways of Knowing.
Universalities and Cultural Differences
Carl Jung is considered to be the first renowned psychologist of the West who integrated cross-cultural views into his theories . Early findings revealed the tendency of individuals in Eastern cultures to relate in a more interdependent way compared to a more individualistic Western understanding of the self . At the same time though it was found that even in the East the desire for some autonomous identity is a universally inherent human feature . Similarly, Parental over-control frustrates children both in the US and China, but they also highlight a different nature and strength of the effect, which called for more direct research related to the nature and reason of cultural differences in child rearing .
Closing Holes in West-centric Researches
Differences about what kind of developmental facets are unique to a certain culture, historically and contemporarily, are subject to ongoing research. 19th and 20th century Western and Eastern artists were analyzed and it was found that Eastern artists tend to arrive at their artistic peak achievement later in life, reflecting the Eastern tradition to emphasize the process to excellence rather than the more Western focus on originality and delivery . Research in Eastern populations is closing gaps between West-centric and Eastern approaches, as, for example, the new media related study of the use of the Internet in citizen development in Eastern countries .
Eastern Philosophies and Transpersonal Psychology
Eastern concepts relevant for developmental psychology enrich Western approaches. Low self-esteem is agreed to be linked to depression and reduced subjective well-being, but on the other side, heightened self-esteem risks to degenerate to narcissism and the need to be better than others, which results in separateness . Instead of such a discriminatory pathway to self-worth, Eastern philosophies, such as mindfulness practices from Buddhism that are promoting self-compassion instead, are (re-)discovered . People who are suffering from developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability can be taught in psychotherapeutic interventions on the Buddhist Four Noble Truths to transform reflections on suffering as part of their life into wisdom that is effective in increasing their well-being . Transpersonal psychology offers a developmental theory influenced by Eastern philosophy that extends the development to personality with a further stage going beyond the ego-centric personal functioning .
Expanding Consciousness and Phenomenological Ways of Knowing
Developmental psychology that focuses on successive lifespan development stages is discarding concepts of expanded consciousness such as the already decades old self-actualization theory . It seems that developmental psychology continues to try to integrate more phenomenological ways of knowing based on inner experience in addition to the experimental and psychoanalytical approaches . Indeed, considering the multitude of different theories in developmental psychology across life and related hypothesis testing, phenomenological research might help in understanding individual’s life journeys based on the qualitative description of lived experiences  and therefore add to a more person-centric and contextual perspective in studying lifespan development.
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