Cultural and Subcultural differences in prosocial behaviour

Unit 4 AQA A2 psych paper

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Cultural and SubCultural Differences in ProSocial Behaviour
1. Miller (1994) Distinguished between individuallyorientated/ dutybased interpersonal moral codes. Individ: help
is given to those we like, identify with and have personal involvement with. Collect: help is provided in order to
fulfil one's obligation to others.
2. Milgram (1970) Urban Overload Hypothesis ­ cities causes high levels of environmental stimulation, causing
high arousal. Develop strategies to avoid interaction with others ­ reduces helping behaviour.
3. Nurturant vs. heroic altruism. Evolutionary argument: women who `tend and befriend' are more likely to
reproduce more successfully/ men evolved in `fight or flight' response ­ protectors role.
1. Miller and Bersoff (1998) studied American and Indian Pps: American Pps were less likely going to help
those they didn't like, but Indians felt it was their responsibity to help everyone.
How did the study know if the person helped was liked or not?
Individualistic culture teaches us to be responsible for oneself and family ­ collectivist are taught to look out for
those in their community. So are they more altruistic?
Supports Miller: crosscultural differences.
Field exp. Less controls, more reliable than a lab, low mundane realism. Demand char? C&E not inferred, so
we can't determine what causes helping behaviour.
2. Whiting + Whiting (1975) looked at behaviour of 310 yr old children in six cultures (USA, Japan, India,
Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines) 100% of Kenyan children were altruistic 8% of kids from USA were. Other
cultures all between these two.
Children's behaviour is likely to be conditioned by parents values suggests individualistic societies are less
altruistic than collectivist.
Survey ­ no control. C&E can't be inferred, cause of altruism is undetermined. How was altruism measured?
Does not specify how large sample was ­ different parts of USA have different values. Can't generalise to
collectivist and individualistic.
3. Eisenburg + Mussen (1989) reviewed studies on crosscultural differences in altruism. Found large
differences between cultures: Mexican kids, Hopi kids and Israeli kibbutz kids more kind, considerate and
cooperative than their middle class American counterparts.
Links to studies above. Supports cultural importance in social behaviour. There seems to be variety within
cultures as well as without.
Does not specify how they measured the mentioned qualities (subjective?). No control C&E can't be inferred,
but there's high mundane realism and external validity.
It might be that poverty/ wealth that effects altruism.
4. Nadler (1986) compared Israeli urban dwellers to those in a kibbutz. Kibbutz kids more likely to help others,
especially when the help would benefit the group rather than the individual.
Shows differences between subcultures ­ suggests individualism within collectivist societies. Suggests being
raised in a grouporientated environment makes one more dutybased. (Miller)
Supports Milgram ­ Urban Overload Hypothesis. Significant that they were from rural/ urban areas. C&E can't
be inferred.
5. Korte + Ayvaliogly (1981) investigated differences in helping behaviour in Turkey between cities and small
towns. Helpfulness assessed: willingness to change money/ willingness to participate in short interview. Small
towns = more helpful.
Supports Milgram ­ urban/ rural. Subcult. Differences ­ individualistic moral codes and urbanisation go
Situation wasn't an emergency ­ not a good test of altruism.
Field exp. ­ not high level of control ­ C&E aren't inferred. Extraneous variables? Short tempers etc. Individual
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Cultural research often overlook other factors such as age, race, social class etc…read more


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