Research Topic

The Psychology of Cultural Fit

About this Research Topic

Central to Cultural Psychology are the ideas that: i) people’s psychological tendencies are attuned to the socio-cultural contexts in which they engage, and ii) these culture-specific ways of feeling, thinking, and behaving help them navigate these contexts. Yet, people are not carbon copies of their cultural contexts: While some of them wholeheartedly endorse the core values of their cultures and enact their practices, others do not. People thus vary in terms of ‘cultural fit’, implying that to understand the intertwining of culture and psyche, we need to understand the antecedents, consequences, and underlying mechanisms that make people (not) fit their cultural context.

To date, however, research that explicitly addresses (rather than assumes) cultural fit is scarce. As a field, cultural psychology stands to gain from better theory, methodological advances and research on cultural fit. This Frontiers Research Topic welcomes papers that focus on one (or more) of three aspects of cultural fit. Firstly, we welcome papers that examine and critically interrogate the construct of cultural fit and thereby either advance or diversify ways to operationalize it.

Secondly, we welcome papers that focus on the processes of cultural fit and that either add to an understanding of why some people show a higher degree of cultural fit than others, or that better characterize the processes of achieving or deviating from cultural tendencies, practices, or norms. Papers may, for instance, focus on processes of cultural fit in children, immigrants, people who are making a cultural leap across religious, class, and race boundaries within a single society, and/or people living in rapidly changing societies.

Finally, we welcome papers that focus on the psychological or societal consequences of cultural fit or lack thereof. We thus welcome work that interrogates the assumption that cultural fit is functional through examining the extent to which indices of cultural fit are linked to outcomes such as psychological and physical well-being or interpersonal functioning. Of course, we also welcome work that examines potential costs of cultural fit as this may help us better understand domains or circumstances for which fit fails to be functional. Ideally, this work will further illuminates the mechanisms that render fit with culture either beneficial or costly.

This Frontiers Research Topic will be open to both theoretical and empirical contributions. Strong papers submitted for this topic will make efforts to assess cultural factors rather than assuming them to be as previously described in the literature.


Keywords: cultural fit, culture-person match, psychological acculturation, emotional acculturation, cultural consonance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Central to Cultural Psychology are the ideas that: i) people’s psychological tendencies are attuned to the socio-cultural contexts in which they engage, and ii) these culture-specific ways of feeling, thinking, and behaving help them navigate these contexts. Yet, people are not carbon copies of their cultural contexts: While some of them wholeheartedly endorse the core values of their cultures and enact their practices, others do not. People thus vary in terms of ‘cultural fit’, implying that to understand the intertwining of culture and psyche, we need to understand the antecedents, consequences, and underlying mechanisms that make people (not) fit their cultural context.

To date, however, research that explicitly addresses (rather than assumes) cultural fit is scarce. As a field, cultural psychology stands to gain from better theory, methodological advances and research on cultural fit. This Frontiers Research Topic welcomes papers that focus on one (or more) of three aspects of cultural fit. Firstly, we welcome papers that examine and critically interrogate the construct of cultural fit and thereby either advance or diversify ways to operationalize it.

Secondly, we welcome papers that focus on the processes of cultural fit and that either add to an understanding of why some people show a higher degree of cultural fit than others, or that better characterize the processes of achieving or deviating from cultural tendencies, practices, or norms. Papers may, for instance, focus on processes of cultural fit in children, immigrants, people who are making a cultural leap across religious, class, and race boundaries within a single society, and/or people living in rapidly changing societies.

Finally, we welcome papers that focus on the psychological or societal consequences of cultural fit or lack thereof. We thus welcome work that interrogates the assumption that cultural fit is functional through examining the extent to which indices of cultural fit are linked to outcomes such as psychological and physical well-being or interpersonal functioning. Of course, we also welcome work that examines potential costs of cultural fit as this may help us better understand domains or circumstances for which fit fails to be functional. Ideally, this work will further illuminates the mechanisms that render fit with culture either beneficial or costly.

This Frontiers Research Topic will be open to both theoretical and empirical contributions. Strong papers submitted for this topic will make efforts to assess cultural factors rather than assuming them to be as previously described in the literature.


Keywords: cultural fit, culture-person match, psychological acculturation, emotional acculturation, cultural consonance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2017 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2017 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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