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AQA Psychology - Issues and Debates > Culture Bias > Flashcards

Flashcards in Culture Bias Deck (21)
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Psychologists seek universality but bias may be inevitable

Many critics argue that although psychology may claim to have unearthed truths about people all over the world (universality), in reality, findings from studies only applie to particular groups of people who were studied 

e.g culture bias


Universality assumed for results for Western research

Researcher have wrongly assumed the findings from studies in Western cultures can be applied all over the world

If the norm of standard for a particular behaviour is judged only from the standpoint of one particular culture then any cultural difference in behaviour will inevitably be seen as 'abornal', 'inferior' or unusual (culture bias)


Example of

universality assumed for results of Western research

Studies in coformity (Asch) and obedience (Milgram) revealed very different results when they were replicated in parts of the world outside of US


What is ethnocentrism?


Seeing things from point of view of ourseleves and social group

Evaluating other groups of people using the standard and custom of one's own culture


Example of ethocentrism

-Strange Situation

Ainsworth(1970) has been criticised as reflecting only the norms and values of American culture in attachment research

She identified the key defining variable fo attachment as the child's experience of anxiety on separation. She suggested the ideal/secure attachment was the infant showing moderate distress when left alone by the mother figure

Lead to misintrepreation of child-rearing practice in toher countries which deivated from American norm


e.g German mothers seen as cold and rejected rather than encourgaing independence in their children


Strange Situation relevaed as inappropraite measure of attachment type of non-US children


Referring to both individuals and collectivist cultures, explain why findings from one culture may not apply to another

Individualist culture comes from the important based on indivdualist achievement - Western countires

Collectivist culture in which it has emphasis on social group - non-western countries

e.g differences of politics in America (domracy - people vote for person in charge) and China (communism - no choice)


How do ethocentric bias occur?

When a bias in which a culture occurs where a culture is judged and assessed in terms of another culture


What can ethnocentrism bias lead to?

Lead to a disorted biew of their differences

(most of research conducted in North America)

All behaviour and research into human behaviour then generalised to non-Western countries


What is etic?

Study of culture from a perspective of another culture


How can etic lead to cultural bias?

Studying Eastern cultures from a Western range can cause a disorted view and reduce validity of findings

utilises generalisability in wrong way  can lead to predjuce

age,gender, race,religion - all different in cultures



What is the emic approach?

Referring to the investigation of a culture within a culture itself


Why does emic approach have high ecological validity?

e.g European society seen from European view

Its findings are less likely to be disorted or caused by a mismatch of culture of researcher and culture being investigated


Give an example of research using etic approach that has led to bias and explain how an emic approach has been used to solve this problem:

  • Ainsworth Strange Situation
    • America - high insecure avoidant
    • China - high insecure resistant
    • common - secure attachment
  • Japan - high insecure resistant
  • (culture child is never out of parent sight)
  • Ammended experiment so mom never leaves
    • insecure resistant % changes


What are the consequences of cultural bias?

amplyifying and damaging

predjuice and steroptypes 

Vast majoirty of research conducted in North America with less than 5% from other cultures so lack population validity and representation being closed minded

leads to exaggerating cultural differences and msunderstandings


What is culture bias?

Tendency to judge all people in terms of your cultural assumptions

This disort or biases your judgement


What is cultural relatvism?

View that behaviour cannot be judged properly unless it is viewed in the context of culture if orginates from


What is culture?

Rules,customs, morals of child-rearing practice, etc 

that binds a group of peole together and define how they are going to behave



First strength

Cross-cultural research challenges Western assumptions

  • One of the great benefit of conducting cross-cultural research is that may challenge our typically Western ways of thinking and viewing the world
  • Understanding the knowledge and concepts we take for granted are not shared by others may promote greater sensitivity to individual differences and cultural relativism
  • Conclusions psychologist are likel to have more validity if they recognise the role of culture in bringing them about 



Second strength

recognition of both cultural relativism and universsals

  • The 'imposed etic' shows the culturally specific nature of psychology. But we should not assume all psychology is culturally relative and there is no such thing as universal human behaviour
  • Ekman (1989) suggests basic facial expressions for emotions are the same all over the human and animal world.  Some features of human attachment (e.g imitation and IS) are universal
  • A full understanding of human behaviour requires the study of both universals and variation among indvidiuals and groups



The first limitation

is cross-cultural research is prone to demand of characteristic

  • When conducting research in Western culture the participant's familiarity with general aims and objectives of scientific enquiry is assumed
  • In cultures without the historical experience of research, local populations may be more affected by demand characteristic than Western participants
  • This is a particular form of cultural bias where unfamiliarity with research tradition threatens validity of outcome




The second limitation

Difficulties with the interpretation of variables


  • Another issue with conducting research in different cultures is that the variables under review may not be experienced in the same way by all particpants
  • Emotions may give rise to different behaviours within an indigenous populations compared to West(e.g invasion of personal space is normal in China but threatening in West)
  • Issues like these may affect interactions between researcher and particpant in cross-cultural studies and effect validity of findings