Cultural bias in Psychology

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Culture bias is judging and interpreting behaviour and psychological characteristics of other cultures by the standards of your own.

·         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

·         Takano and Oskaka reviewed 15 studies that compared USA and Japan- we’d expect individualistic to have low levels of conformity because they are concerned with self-interest but they 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 test are made by western psychologists to test western IQ level but they assume their view of intelligence is cross cultural-not true- when these IQ tests are applied to other cultures, they may appear less intelligent. - imposed etic

IQ testing is entirely culturally relative

·         Cole et al- asked members of African tribe to arrange objects into groups- usually westerns would categorise them in groups like food and tools but the Kpelle tribe categorised them into functioning groups e.g. knife and orange- but this is seen as wrong in Western IQ test- doesn’t make them less intelligent. - take an emic approach to overcome it

·         Kohlberg’s theory of Moral development suggests that the developmental stages are driven by biological factors so- universal. Regardless of culture people would experience the same developmental process at about the same age. However, Snarey and Keljo (1991) found that post-conventional understanding occurs mainly in more developed, industrialised


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