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Publication Date

Summer 2021

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Shinchieh Duh


cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, experiential learning, media

Subject Areas

Psychology; Experimental psychology


Cultural relativism, the recognition that our beliefs and behaviors are only one of several possible and equally valuable worldviews, becomes more important as the world globalizes. Consequently, cultural relativism should be cultivated in our daily lives, such as in our education. Current teaching methods focusing on cultural differences may be too superficial in fostering authentic cultural understanding, and other aspects of cultural intelligence (i.e., metacognition, motivation) have yet to be fully addressed. I offer a possible solution: Integrating popular media as a motivational and emotional tool in teaching helps to increase cultural intelligence (or Cultural Quotient, CQ) and decrease ethnocentric attitudes. Utilizing a mixed-design longitudinal study (3 sessions over 1.5 weeks), I compared the outcomes of a single CQ lesson (using an ethnocentric attitude scale and a content quiz as outcome measures) between 42 college students assigned to two learning conditions (popular media examples versus typical lecture examples). As hypothesized, exposure to the CQ lesson significantly decreased ethnocentric attitudes and increased content quiz scores. Unexpectedly, the results did not differ between the learning conditions. The current findings showed that cultural relativism can be cultivated through CQ lessons focused on increasing cultural intelligence. However, the extent to which popular media examples can enhance learning awaits further research.