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What is meant by universality

Any underlying characteristics of human beings that is capable of being applied to all despite differences of experience and upbringing


What is meant by alpha bias ( think gender bias )

Alpha bias is the exaggeration of the differences between males and females, theories that are alpha biased assume there are real and enduring differences between men and women. This is an essentialist view which assumes that gender differences reflect different natures rather than being a product of social, ideological, are intellectual constructions. This often creates a double standard in the way that the same behaviour is viewed from a male and a female perspective
Consequently there is a misrepresentation of behaviour as gender differences are exaggerated and similarities ignored


What is beta bias ( Think gender bias)

Ignores, minimises or underestimate the difference between male and females. Assuming that all people are the same and therefore it's reasonable to apply the same theories and methods to both males and females. This leads to a misrepresentation of behaviour as gender differences I ignored. These theories maybe The product of not including females in recent samples and assuming that the findings apply equally to both sexes.
Beta bias may appear good for women, it has led to more educational and occupational opportunities for women. However series can result in women's special needs and that imbalance of power between men and women being ignored.
Be Tobias can lead androcentrism


What is androcentrism

This is a male centred theory. Behaviour of mail is believed to be normal human behaviour, any behaviour that deviates from this standard is then judged as abnormal, deviant or deficient in some way


Why is gender bias present in research

- many studies have been made by men. This may have created self-serving bias in favour of their gender. Males make choose topics that they think are relevant and represent humanity. Potentially ignoring topics that are relevant for women.
- there may also be a sense of bias in the publication process as males are more likely to have their work published
- a lot of feminist research often uses qualitative methods. These are less likely to be published.
- Studies that found significant gender differences are more likely to be published and credited.
- most research may have bias samples as in the past more males went to university and therefore male participants were used-this is androcentrism.


What might be the implications of research that is gender bias

Research that is gender bias may reinforce stereotypes, undermines the feminist movement, creates the idea that women who don't want to have children are selfish and less of a woman.
And for consequences of a male it may impact on their mental health for instance men are more likely to commit suicide because they can't express emotions. As gender stereotypes frown upon this.


How can we overcome gender bias in psychology

-Always have an equal number of male and female participants. However this will only go some way to address the issue as it doesn't tackle issues of bias in the publication process or bias in terms of which research questions are asked. Judith Worrell 1992 suggests there should be a greater use of collaborative methods that generated qualitative data and that research should examine differences within different groups of women rather than just examining differences between men and women.
- feminist psychologists agree that there are real biological determing differences between male and female but that's socially constructed stereotypes play a greater role in determining behaviour. They are therefore seek to understand behaviour in terms of social processes and Aim to challenge our preconceptions about gender.


Give examples of research that is gender bias

Many research findings can be considered as androcentrism for example acsh and Milgram only use men can their findings really be applied to a woman? This leads to male behaviour been seen as normal.


What is meant by culture bias

Refers to a tendency to ignore cultural differences and interprets all phenomena through the lens of one's own culture. If the norm or standard for any particular behaviour is judged from the standpoint of one culture then any cultural differences in that behaviour will be seen as inferior or abnormal.


What is ethnocentrism

When one judges other cultures by the standards and values of one's own culture. There is often the assumption that one's own culture is superior or the right way of being which results in the behaviour of other cultures appearing wrong in some way


What is cultural relativism

The idea that norms and values can only be meaningful and understood within specific social and cultural contexts.


What is an etic and an emic approach in psychology according to John Berry?
What does he criticise psychologists for?
What does he propose

Etic- approach looks at behaviour from outside a culture and attempts to describe behaviours that are universal.
Emic- approach functions from within a culture and identifies behaviour that are specific to that culture.

He criticises psychology for imposing an attic (assuming everyone does what do you do). He argues that psychologist should be more mindful of the cultural relativism of their research. There are some aspects of human behaviour that appear to be universal, for instance facial expression is for being happy.

John Berry proposes that for a full understanding of human behaviour we must consider emics and etics


Why is culture bias present in research?

-In 1992, 64% of the worlds psychology research is where American.
- in baron and Byrnes 1991 textbook on social psychology 94% of the studies were conducted in north America.
- Henrich et Al found that 67% of participants in research where are American psychology students. This means that much of the findings of psychological research cannot be applied to the whole of the American population, never mind different cultural groups in all the countries.


Describe what is meant and the difference between individualist and collectivist culture is.

What is the problem with this distinction ?

Individualist cultures value freedom and independence for instance Europe and the USA. They emphasise the need of the individual.

Collectivist culture is value interdependence for instance Japan and India. They emphasise the need of the group.

The problem is that not everyone in collectivist culture is for instance Japan will be dependent on someone else. They may live alone making them independent and therefore individualists. It would be stereotypical and we may ignore so cultural differences. Another issue is we could ignore possible similarities and we are assuming that culture effects behaviour.


Why may some people argue that the distinction between individualist cultures and collectivist culture is no longer relevant?

As globalisation has led to increased interconnection and therefore cultures are becoming increasingly similar. Takano and Osaka 1999 found that 14/15 studies that compared American and Japan found no evidence of the traditional distinction between individualism and collectivism. Things such as the media and global food chains for instance McDonald has made the world in a way smaller as cultures are sharing norms.


What might be the implications of culture bias in research.

That story is don't represent all cultures therefore we can't generalise and results and valid to generalise to all cultures would be imposed etics.
We would also become more ethnocentric and judge other cultures unfairly as we would view them as inferior this would lead to racism and discrimination.


How can we overcome culture bias

-Cross cultural research- this enables psychologist to appreciate the effect of situational factors on the behaviour and this should minimise the chance of them creating imposed etics. It also allows for the separation of the effect of variables that may be confounded in their own culture for example the effect in TV on school performance

- indigenous psychologies in which researchers from different cultures create theories and conduct research in their own culture. One example of this is Afrocentrism, this is a movement that argues that all black people have their roots in Africa therefore theories about such people should be African centred and express African values. They argue that the The values and culture of Europeans is irrelevant to the life and culture of people of African descent.


What are the problems with cross cultural research

Sample may not be representative
Maybe too expensive making it impractical
Language barriers for instance we may have to imply translators this is one costly and instructionsmaybe mistranslated as they may not be an equivalent term in that language causing issues with validity
Difficult to acquire comparable samples
Some cultures may want o present their culture in a positive light and therefore not be honest


What may be dangerous about the indigenous psychologies

This may reinforce differences between those with different coloured skin
Furthermore not all black people will have roots in Africa, this explanation is suggesting because your great great great grandad is African you still have African values?
However it encourages research to be carried out from all different points of view


How does globalisation help to challenge cultural bias

As people travel more they are more aware of differences and similarities between cultures. Academics often work in different countries and they hold international conferences so ideas and research is discussed by people from different cultural backgrounds. This exchange of ideas should help to reduce ethnocentrism and in able and greater understanding of cultural relativism.


Free will vs?



Define free will

Free will is the idea that as human beings we are able to make choices over our thoughts and actions we can therefore be described as self determining. According to this view individuals have an active role in controlling their behaviour they decide whether or not to behave in a particular way. This position is a feature of the humanistic approach.


Define determinism

Determinism is the idea that individuals are shipped or controlled by forces outside of their control


Define hard and soft determinism

Hard determinism suggest that all human behaviour has a cause and that it should be possible to identify these causes. This view is compatible with the scientific emphasis on casual explanations as it means that we are able to establish general laws of human behaviour enabling us to predict and control it.

Soft determinism was proposed by William James. He argued that the behaviour should be separated into physical and mental realms. This definition acknowledges that human actions have a cause but that individual do you have conscious control over how they behave. For example Nick Heather proposed that individuals are free to choose their behaviour but from within a limited range. This position is a feature of the cognitive approach.


How could social learning theory be described as an example of soft determinism

As in Bandura's study of the child to chose what to pay attention to


Define biological, environmental and psychic determinism

Biological determinism is the belief that behaviour is caused by biological influences that we cannot control. Following sample the autonomic nervous system is activated during periods of stress and mental illnesses are believed to have a genetic basis and behaviours such as aggression are believed to be caused by hormones such as testosterone.

Environmental determinism is the belief that our behaviour is shaped by environmental events. This is an approach adopted by behaviourist who believe our behaviour is the product of patterns of conditioning such as the reinforcement of particular behaviours. Skinner described free will as an illusion.

Psychic determinism is a concept favoured by Freud. It is the belief that human behaviour is determined by the unconscious mind. Innate drives and early experiences combine to create the adult personality and conflicts in childhood can result in mental illness. Freud also believed that free will is an illusion and argued that there is no such thing as an accident. All the heaviest can't be explained by unconscious forces.


Arguments for free will and against determinism

If we are expected to be morally responsible for our actions then we must accept the concept of free will otherwise people who do morally wrong things can easily say that they are not responsible. If we reject free will then prisons should be used as an opportunity to shape new behaviour.

Plato and Descartes argue that humans are unique among living things because they have souls allowing them to plan and make free choices


Arguments for determinism and against free will

Determinism underpins the scientific approach-research aims to uncover cause-and-effect relationships this supports the debate that psychology is a science.
Skinner would argue that our choices are determined by previous reinforcement experiences.


Nature vs ?



What is nature

This refers to the influence of our genes on all our characteristics and abilities. Supporters of this view are sometimes referred to as nativists. They believe that human characteristics such as knowledge and abilities are in it and the result of heredity ( the process by which traits are passed down through their off spring


What is nurture

Refers to the influence of experiences on behaviour. Supporters of this if you are known as empiricists. They believe the mind is a blank slate at birth upon which learning and experience with rights. Therefore knowledge is derived from experience


What do nativists argue

Give examples of eugenics policies

That anatomy is destiny as they believe that our inherited genetic make up determines our characteristics and behaviour. In it's extreme, this approach has led to eugenics policies.

Far example in Nazi Germany Hitler killed people who he didn't think we're fit.


How do evolutionary explanations support the nature side of the debate

As they are based on the principle that any behaviour or characteristic that promotes survival or successful reproduction will be selected and passed on to future generations.


When does nurture start according to the debate

What with the nurture debate argue

From the moment of contraception and therefore includes any parental affects of the mothers behaviour for example diet, stress, exposure to drugs including alcohol and smoking

That any behaviour can be changed by altering environmental conditions. For example behaviour shaping has been used successfully in therapy through reinforcement desired behaviour and punishing or ignoring undesirable behaviours


Identify the different levels of the environment.

In a biological level-psychological influences on the unborn child
Inner psychological levels-psychological influences on the mother of the on born child
Physical environmental level-effect on the physical environment on the child
Sociocultural level- current knowledge and practices in education re-creation etc which can affect children's development


What is the relative importance of heredity and environment

In reality many psychologists accept that both nature and nurture are important in determining characteristics and behaviour. Therefore the research question becomes more a case of working out the relative importance of these factors rather than simply which one it is.
The heritable Tilly coefficient is a numerical figure ranging from 0 to 1 which indicates the extent to which are characteristic has a genetic basis one being entirely genetic far example I Q has been found to have a heritability of 0.5 which means that jeans and environment are important in determining it


Name one approach that explains the relative importance of heredity and environment

The interactionist approach
This approach accept that nature and nurture a link to such an extent that it doesn't make sense to separate the two, instead psychologist should study how they interact and influence each other.


What is the diathesis stress model

This model is often used to explain mentalness. It suggests that people inherit a genetic vulnerability which is then triggered by an environmental stressors. This means that not everyone with the gene for a particular condition will go on to develop it a persons nature is only expressed on the certain conditions of nurture.


What is epigenetics

Refers to a change in our genetic activity without changing our genetic code. Aspects of our lifestyle and environment leave epigenetic marks on our DNA which tell our bodies which genes to ignore and which to use. This process can go on to influence the genetic code of future generations.


What is constructivism

This approach suggests that people create their own nurture by actively seeking out environments that are appropriate for their nature.


Define holism

What approach adopt this idea

Is the argument that it only makes sense to study a person or behaviour as a whole.
1920s and 30s
"The whole is greater than sum of its parts"
We can't predict how he whole system will behave from just acknowledging individual components.

Humanism - they believe individuals react as an organised whole. What matters most is a person sense of unified identity and that lacking such wholeness can lead to mental disorders.


Define reductionism

Breaking down the complex parts of behaviour and examining it constituent parts. This conforms to the law of parsimony which is the scientific principle that things are usually explained or connected in the most simple of economical way.


What is the order of the explanations in psychology from bottom to top

-Neurochemical level (hormones and neurotransmitters )
- physiological ( biology eg- limbo can system)
- physic or behavioural level (behaviourist approach )
- psychological ( mental process, cognitive thoughts )
- socio- cultural level ( norms, values )


Explain how the levels of explanations in psychology could explain sz

Social - not part of the social group
Psychological - start feeling lonely and sad (irrational cognition)
Physical behaviour - start reacting different when someone starts to talk to you


What is biological reductionism

Aims to explain psychological phenomenon at a biological level. The biological approach believes behaviour can be ugh neurochemical, neurophysiological, genetic and evolutionary influences.


What is environment reductionism

Aims to explain all behaviour in terms of stimulus - response association that have been learnt through experience. This approach explains behaviour at a physical level ignoring mental processes. John Watson believed that though was a form of sub vocal speech characterised by physical movement just like behaviour.


Give supporting and challenging evidence for a reductionist behaviour

Support - breaking down behaviour into constituent parts makes it easier to operationalise variables and conduct scientific research such as lab experiments. Adopting such a scientific approach gives psychology more credibility.
Challenge - the operationalising of variables may result in something that bears little resemblance to the real behaviour. Research carried out in this way will only provide us with a narrow explanation of behaviours


Supporting and challenging information for the holistic view of behaviour

Support - some behaviours only emerge in social context, for example- conformity and obedience could not be explained without considering the relationship between individual and the social roles that they fulfil

Challenge - do not lend themselves to rigorous scientific testing; complex and social - cultural phenomenon cannot be recreated in the lab therefore holistic explanation can become loose descriptions of concepts rather than coherent theories explaining the causal links between variables


What is the mind- body problem ( holism- reductionism debate)
Reductionist argue

A reductionist explanation of behaviour would adopt the materialist perspective which suggests that ultimately everything is reducible to the physical world i.e.: the mind is a product of the brain (body) therefore we can explain mental phenomena by examining the physical brain e.g- neurones

However, the dualist perspective believes there is a physical brain and a non physical brain mind which interact with each other. In this sense it is possible for the mind to effect our biology and there is no evidence to support this. Martin et am found that depressed patients who received psychotherapy experienced the same changes in levels of serotonin and noradrenaline as house who received drug treatment.


What is an alternative to the mind body problem
Holism would argue

The interactionist approach considers how different levels of explanation may interact to produce a behaviour.
Eg- sz maybe a product of a genetic predisposition, to have abnormally high dopamine levels, maladaptive cognitive processes and dysfunctional family circumstances such as high levels of expressed emotions. This approach has led to multidisciplinary approaches to treatment such as combining medication with family therapy and this is associated with lower symptom levels when compared to medication alone.


What is the ideographic approach

In regard to research methods what would a psychologists using a ideographic approach use and why

Derived from the Greek idios meaning 'private or personal'
Approach attempts to describe the individual as a unique individual with there own subjective experiences of the world often with no attempt to compare them to a standard or group norm.

- unstructured interviews ( each interview takes its own direction)
- naturalistic
- case study ( in dept of an individual )


What is a nomothetic approach

What research methods would a psychologist using this approach use

Derived from the Greek "monos" meaning law
Develop general laws and principles of behaviour
People can be compared and measures against these 'benchmarks' and predictions about future behaviour can be made.
Large representative samples and the data would produced would be Analysed using statistical tests so that conclusions could be drawn about the wider population

Objective measures (cause and effect)
Meta Analysis ( new results and theme )
Questionnaire ( patterns )


What approach would be regarded as more scientific
Nomothetic or ideographic

Nomothetic - objective, hypothesis testing and theory construction, falsification and empiricism


According to john Radford and Richard Kirby what 3 broad general laws has the nomothetic approach led to

- classifying people into groups (eg- mental illness)
- establishing principles of behaviour that can be applied to people in general (e.g.- milligram)
- establishing dimensions along which people can be placed an compared ( eg- personality scale)


Argue for and against the ideographic approach

For- dept into an individual, real life experiences which is more realistic and more ecologically valid, case studies test the applicability of the theory's.

Against - subjective, never go beyond that individual so therefore limited in usefulness


Argue for and against the nomothetic approach

For- can generalise to the wider population, general laws, prepare and prevent, treatments and it is scientific

Against- still not free from bias, inappropriate to make generalisations ( everyone is unique), inappropriate if people have free will


What may be an alternative to the ideographic/ nomothetic debate

Rather seeing them as contradictory why don't we regard them as complimentary?
To get a good understanding of human behaviour it is important to carry out rich, detailed investigations of the individual which provides us with a insight into people's subjective states (ideographic) while at the same time trying to establish general patterns of behaviour.

Work along side one another - case studies may present new areas of research and allow us to test the applicability of the theories generated from large scale research. While the general laws derived from nomothetic research enable us to predict behaviour and develop solutions to real world problems.

Million and Davis - research should start with the nomothetic approach and once laws have been produced they can focus on idiographic understanding of the individual.

Also debates about what constitutes uniqueness. Ideographic- argue that individual traits are unique to the person. Nomothetic- individuals are unique in that they have a combination of traits that many people have to different degrees.


Give an example of ethical implications beyond the initial study that the ethical guidelines fail to address

The research may impact at a societal level either through influencing public policy or the way in which particular groups of people are perceived. This is socially sensitive research.

Sieber and Stanley defined this as "studies in which there are potential social consequences or implications, either directly for the participants in research or the class of the individual represented by the research.


Which group could be effected by socially sensitive research

Participants and there family and friends
The researchers and institutions they represent
The wider groups the participant belongs to eg- sexuality, ethnicity, age , disability


What 4 aspects did sieber and Stanley identify as aspects which ethical issues with social consequences may occur

-The research questions ( damaging to the members because it appears to add scientific credibility to prevailing prejudice)
- conduct of research and the treatment of participants ( confidentiality )
- the intuitional context ( if the research is funded by private institutions they may determine certain aspects of the procedure and may misinterpret the data to satisfy there own interest.
- interpretation and application of findings ( findings may be used for purposes other than those originally intended. The government may misinterpret or over interpret the findings and use them to inform social policies that could have harmful effects)


Sieber and Stanley also identified ethical issues that were especially relevant in socially sensitive research
What were they?

I drank juice so sally could play on rated videos
I- informed consent
d- deception
j- justice and equitable treatment
S- scientific freedom
S- sound and valid methodology
C- confidentiality
P- privacy
O- ownership
R- risk/ benefit ratio
V- values of social science


How can it be argued that the ethical guidelines don't go far enough

They don't include any requirements for the researcher to consider how their work might be used by others. Some may argue that this is not the responsibly of the researcher however it is reasonable to expect them to consider this and take steps to promote their research in a socially sensitive way.
The bps has a press centre which aims to promote evidence based psychological research to the media and there is growing pressure on researchers to engage with the public and explain there research to a wider audience than is traditionally the case