Cultural influences:Similarities

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Cultural influences:Similarities

Advantages

  • Buss (1989) explored what males and females looked for in a marriage partner. They study involved over 10,000 people from 37 different cultures, including a wide diversity of ethnic, religious, political and economic groups. It was found that: women desired mates who had good financial prospects, men place more importance on physical attractiveness, men universally wanted mates who were younger than them and both sexes wanted mates who were intellegant, kind and dependable. This supports the view that their is some similarities between cultures.

Disadvantages

  • Weakness of Williams and Best- First the task had no 'equal' category. although participants were allowed to respond cannot say. This means the division between male and female characteristics may be exaggerated. Second, the task was related to stereotypes and not to actual behavious. It can be argued that such stereotypes have a significant effect on socialisation within the culture and thus are related to behaviour, but the data from the study does not demonstrate this.Third, the paricipants were university students who share common attributes- they are all well educated and may be exposed to similar influences, such as books, films etc. This might explain the high level of consensus.

Evaluation

Research has been collected by western psychologists working in a mixture of western and non-western cultures, leaving scope for cultural bias. Researchers use tests and other methods developed by western psychology (such as the adjective checklist used by Williams and Best). Such measures are described as imposed etics. The results of such imposed etics are likely to be meaningless. 

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