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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article helps the reader gain a broad understanding of culture and cross-cultural psychology as it relates to the field of appearance. It argues that the deeper meanings of practices relating to body decoration, modification, adornment, and grooming can only be fully understood from within the cultural context in which they occur. It considers the neglected topic of variation in appearance values and practices in different societies, and the extent to which particular cultural norms are adopted by subgroups within the population. It discusses the increasing homogeneity in ideals and aspirations across cultures and the increasingly prevalent view that bodies are malleable, rather than the less permeable result of genetic inheritance. The development and proliferation of new technologies for altering appearance and increased access to globalized media are reducing the influence of culture, eroding traditional appearance practices, and narrowing the acceptable range of diversity in appearance.

Keywords: culture, cross-cultural psychology, appearance psychology, body decoration, grooming

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