Indigenous psychology is a scientific study of human mind and behavioral processes that are indigenous, not taken from other areas, and intended for people who are the subject of such research (Kim & Berry, 1993). This approach supports statements which reveal that understanding of the knowledge, skills, and beliefs of a society must be contextually framed. For this reason, theories, concepts, and methods on indigenous psychology were developed by adapting the context to psychological phenomena. The main objective of this approach is to create scientific psychology that is systematic, comprehensive, universally theoretical and can be empirically interpreted.
The emergence of indigenous psychology coming from the difficulties faced by Asian researchers on applying psychology which mainly are originated from the Western countries to the people in their own countries. This phenomenon raises questions about the validity, universality, and applicability of existing psychological theories (Kim, 2000). The researchers finally concluded that in order to understand the behavior and mental processes of people from a particular culture, they also had to consider the context that worked for these communities, both ecologically, historically, philosophically, and spiritually (Kim et al., 2006).
Indigenous psychology questions the concept of universality in current psychological theories and seeks to establish universal psychological science in social, cultural and ecological contexts (Kim & Berry, 1993; Yang, 2000). This statement is supported by an explanation from Enriquez (1993), Kim & Berry (1993), Koch & Leary (1985), Shweder (1991) (see Kim, et al, 2006) which reveals that psychological theory basically cannot be separated from culture and value, and has limited validity. Indigenous psychology offers an approach with content (meaning, values, and beliefs) that is contextual (family, social, cultural, ecological) which is reflected in the research design (Kim et al., 2006).
Kim, U. & Berry, J.W. (1993). Indigenous Psychologies: Experience and Research in Cultural Context. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publication.
Kim, U. (2000). Indigenous, Cultural, and Cross Cultural Psychology: A Theoretical, Conceptual, and Epistimological Analysis. Asian Journal of Social Psychology 3: 265-287.
Kim, U., Yang, K., Hwang, K. (2006). Contributions to Indigenous and Cultural Psychology: Understanding People in Context. Dalam Kim, U., Yang, K., Hwang, K., (eds). Indigenous and Cultural Psychology: Understanding People in Context. New York: Springer.