Cultural Bias in Psychology

What is cultural bias?

What is cultural bias?

    • First world of psychology (USA) is universalised and generalised to the whole world, this is a problem as not all cultures are the same

    • Hare-Mustin and Maracek (1988) cultural biases lead to wrong identification of cultural differences – this has its own implications

  • Alpha bias

    • There are real differences between cultures

    • E.g. individualist societies are less likely to conform than collectivist societies

    • Takano and Oskaka – found no difference in conformity levels

  • Beta Bias

    • All differences between cultures are imagined and everyone is the same

    • E.g IQ testing should be used worldwide with the same test as all IQ is universal

IQ testing is entirely culturally relative

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Defining Culture Bias

  • Ethnocentrism

    • Using our own culture as a basis for judging others

    • We require cultural relativism, how well do concepts transfer

  • Bias in Studies

    • Smith and Bond – meta analysis – 66% of the studies in British text books were American

    • Sears – 82% of participants in studies use undergraduate participants. This is an age and culture bias on the young middle class

      • The biological approach

        • Our cultural environment shapes the nervous system so biological explanations many also be culture biased

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Dealing with Cultural Bias

  • Indigenous psychology

    • Some native views of psychology

    • Some societies are not represented e.g. South Africa uses Western psychology despite being largely a black population

    • Afrocentrism – European people devalue African society and assume European values are more important

  • The Emic- Etic

    • Emic stresses uniqueness – derived emic

    • Etic stresses universalism – imposed etic

  • Cross Cultural Research

    • Smith and Bond – trouble with cross cultural studies like Buss as they are not translated and correctly implemented

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