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Flashcards in Cultural bias Deck (18)
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What is Cultural bias?

Refers to a tendency to ignore cultural differences and interpret all phenomena through the ‘lens’ of one’ own culture.


What is an example of cultural bias in psychological studies?

Classic social influence studies of conformity, Asch and Milgram, were originally conducted on only US participants and revealed very different results when replicated in other parts of the world – Kilham and Mann.


What is Ethnocentrism?

Judging other cultures by the standards and values of one’s own culture. In its extreme form it is the belief in the superiority of one’s own culture which may lead to prejudice and discrimination towards other cultures.


What is an example of ethnocentrism in psychological studies?

Ainsworth’s Strange Situation. She suggested that the ‘ideal’ attachment was shown by infant showing moderate amounts of distress when left alone. However, this lead to the misinterpretation of child-rearing practices, e.g. German mothers were seen to be cold and rejecting.


What is cultural relativism?

The idea that norms and values, as well as ethics and moral standards, can only be meaningful and understood within specific and cultural contexts.
To achieve cultural relativism you must adapt your study to make it meaningful and relative to the cultures and social norms


What is an etic approach?

One that looks at behaviour from outside of a given culture and attempts to describe those behaviours that are universal.


What is an emic approach?

One that functions from within or inside certain cultures and identifies behaviours that are specific to that culture.


What is imposed etic?

A theory developed in one culture and then used to study behaviour in differing cultures, e.g. Ainsworth


How can you avoid cultural bias?

Being able to recognise when etic is being imposed.


What are the evaluation points for Cultural bias?

Individualism and Collectivism
Cultural relativism versus universality
Unfamiliarity with research tradition
Operationalisation of variables


Evaluation point: Individualism and Collectivism

Critics have suggested in this age of global communication that the simplistic distinction between collectivist and individualistic cultures. Takano and Osaka found that 14 out of 15 studies that compared USA and Japan found no evidence of the distinction. This suggests that cultural bias in research is less of an issue than it once was.


Evaluation point: Cultural relativism versus universality

It should not be assumed that all psychology is culturally relative and there is no such thing as universal behaviour. Ekman suggests that basic facial expressions for emotion are universal. Therefore critics of Ainsworth should not doubt that features such as imitation are universal.


Evaluation point: Unfamiliarity with research tradition

When conducting research in Western culture the participants’ familiarity with the general aims of scientific enquiry is assumed. However this may not extend to some cultures. Therefore demand characteristics may be exaggerated in some studies and this may have an adverse effect on the validity.


Evaluation point: Operationalisation of variables

One issue with conducting research in different cultures is that the variables under review may not be experienced in the same way by all participants. Issues such as personal space may affect interactions between the researcher and participants.


What is an emic construct?

Taking behaviours from a specific culture and applying them to other (different) cultures.


What is an etic construct?



What is an example of an emic construct?

Individualistic and collectivist cultures have different social norms but behaviours between them are compared.


What is an example of cultural relativism?

Definitions of Abnormality - Deviation from Social Norms (bc social norms are relative to each culture)