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Culture & Psychology 5 (2) (1999)
Diversity, Definitions and Dilemmas: A Commentary on Helfrich’s Principle of Triarchic Resonance
Helfrich (1999) argues that understanding human psychic diversity requires a notion of culture that can attend to both cultural patterns and personal experience, to the fact of intra-cultural heterogeneity, and one that does not invoke old dualisms such as ‘us’ and ‘other’. It is argued that Helfrich’s triarchic model entails a view of culture as separated from tasks and individuals, which poses difficulty in explaining human experience. The model also omits interpersonal processes and the dynamics of emotions, values, and other social experiences. It is also argued that the meaning of constructs such as ‘intelligence’ should be reconsidered before cross-cultural validation is attempted. Finally, it is suggested that researchers consider the resonance between their scientific theories and ethnotheories in deciding whether a specific approach would actually explain the phenomena and the context to which a scientific theory is applied.