Cultural Bias in Psychological Theory

Cultural bias in theory, including economic thoery of relationships

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  • Created on: 13-06-09 14:23
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2 types of cultures:
Cultural when assumptions are made about one culture based on the
norms of another culture.
This tends to be a problem in psychological theory because researchers in
psychology are predominantly American; with Rosenzweig (1992)
estimating that 64% of the worlds 56,000 psychological researchers are
American, who often state that their theories are representative of universal
behaviour- when actually the theories may not be generalisable to other
The two main types of cultural bias are Ethnocentrism and Eurocentrism.
ETHNOCENTRISM refers to the use of our own ethnic/cultural
group as a basis for judgements about other groups.
The opposite of ethnocentrism is Cultural Relativism...
This is the idea that all cultures are worthy of equal respect, and that in
studying another culture we must try and understand how that culture sees
the world.
Eurocentrism is a particular form of ethnocentrism, whereby psychologists
place an emphasis on European (or Western) theories and ideas at the expense of other
cultures. Implicit here is the assumption that Western concepts are fundamentally different
from those of other cultures. Western research is then applied to other cultures to create a
universal view of human behaviour.

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Psychology' has traditionally meant Western Psychology, with the assumption that
psychological knowledge can be applied to the whole of humankind.
But psychology practiced in other parts of the world has created the need for an alternative
view of human behaviour based on indigenous cultures.
Most of this research comes from Asia, where there are more
psychologists than in Europe (Yamagashi 2002).…read more

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The Social Exchange Theory states that we try to maximise `rewards'
(affection, sex) and minimise `costs' in a relationship. This theory assumes that for a
relationship to work a person must feel the rewards outweigh the costs.
The Equity Theory expands on this, stating that people expect to receive rewards
from a relationship that are proportional to the rewards they provide for the other person.
Such theories reflect Individualistic societies, in which group members are mostly
concerned with their own success.…read more


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