A01: Cultural Bias

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  • A01: Cultural Bias
    • Universality
      • Findings from studies only apply to the particular groups of people who were studied
      • If the norm is judged from one culture, cultural differences in behaviour may be seen as abnormal
      • E.g. Asch's conformity study gave different conformity levels when replicated outside the US
    • Ethnocentrism
      • Definition
        • The belief in the superiority of your own cultural group
        • In research, this may be communicated through a view that nay behviour that doesn't fit with the (usually Western) norm is abnormal
      • The Strange Situation
        • Ainsworth identified the key defining variable of attachment type as the child's experience of anxiety during separation
        • She suggested secure attachment was when the infant showed moderate distress at separation
        • This led to mis-understanding of other child rearing practices around the world
        • German mothers were seen as cold and rejecting, rather than encouraging independence in their children
        • Japanese mothers may have been seen as over-involved with their children, rather than just showing a very close bond between the mother and infant
    • Etic and emic approaches
      • 'Facts' discovered in research may only make sense in the particular culture they were discovered
      • Recognising this is one way of avoiding cultural bias
      • Etic approach
        • Looks at behaviour outside a given group
        • Assumes these behaviours are universal
      • Emic approach
        • Looks at behaviours within a given group
        • Identifies behaviours as specific to that culture


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