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What is bias? When pre-existing values and beliefs influence research findings.
What is gender bias? When psychological research or theory does not justifiably represent the experience and behaviour of men or women, usually women.
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What is alpha bias? Psychological theories that suggest there are real and enduring differences between men and women. These may enhance or undervalue members of either sex but typically undervalue females.
What is beta bias? Psychological theories that ignore or minimise differences between sexes. This often occurs when only one gender of participants are included as part of the research process and then the findings apply equally to both sexes.
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Example of alpha bias: Freud's theory of superego (moral) development suggests because a girl does not experience castration anxiety in the phallic stage of psychosexual development, she forms a weaker superego and her sense of morality is inferior.
Example of beta bias: Early research into the fight or flight response was based on male animals only and was generalised to females as well but recent research suggests women may adopt a tend and befriend response instead.
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What is androcentrism? Male centred research and theories where normal behaviour is judged according to male standards so female behaviour is often judged to be abnormal.
What is gynocentrism? Female centred research and theories which view behaviour exclusively from a female point of view.
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Implications: may create misleading assumptions about female behaviour, fail to challenge negative stereotypes and validate discriminatory practices. May provide scientific justification to deny women opportunities affecting their lives.
Sexism: lack of women at senior research level so their concerns are not reflected in research questions. Male researchers and studies with alpha bias more likely to get published.
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Lab experiments usually place female participants with male researchers who have the power to label them as unreasonable, irrational and unable to complete complex tasks.
Acknowledging gender bias helps avoiding it. Women should be studied in real life contexts and genuinely participate in research. Diversity within women should be examined rather than being compared with men. Qualitative data should be used.
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What is culture? The shared beliefs and attitudes of a group of people.
What is cultural bias? A tendency to ignore cultural differences and interpret all phenomena through the lens of one's own culture.
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What is ethnocentrism? Judging other cultures by the standards and values of one's own cultures and so it is likely to lead to them seeing their own culture as superior and discriminating against other cultures.
In psychological research this may be displayed through a view that any behaviours which do not conform to the usually Western model are somehow deficient, unsophisticated or underdeveloped.
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What is cultural relativism? The idea that norms and values as well as ethics
What is an emic approach? It involves the observer attempting to understand a culture by learning the rules and beliefs from within that cultures own logic system.
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What is an etic approach? The observer uses the rules, beliefs, categories of an alien culture rather than those of the native culture being studied.
An etic approach is biased as it ignores the cultural context of any behaviour and observes it from a position outside the culture.
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Example of imposed etic: Mary Ainsworth's strange situation reflects only on the norms and values or American culture. She suggested the ideal attachment was characterised by the infant showing moderate amount of distress when left by the mother.
This lead to misinterpretation of child rearing practices in other countries that deviate from the American norm such as in Germany where mothers were seen as cold and rejecting rather than encouraging independence in their children.
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In Britain, Afro Caribbean community are 7x more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than the white population. This could be explained by the misapplication of norms from one culture to another.
It has been suggested that immigrants to the UK experience higher levels of stress which leads to schizophrenia. However, Cochrane points out that this only happens to the Afro Caribbean community.
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Psychologists distinguish cultures with the individualist-collectivist distinction. Individualist cultures are associated with Western countries who are though to value personal freedom and independence.
Collectivist cultures place emphasis on interdependence and group needs. This is said to be too much of a simplistic distinction that no longer applies. Research found 14/15 studies found no evidence of this distinction between US and Japan.
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It should not be assumed that all psychology is culturally relative and there is no such thing as universal human behaviour. Research suggests basic facial expression for emotions are the same all over the human and animal world.
Some features of human attachment such as imitation and interactional synchrony are universal. A full understanding of human behaviour requires the study of both universals and variation among individuals and groups.
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Using country of origin as indication of culture assumes that all people in one country belong to the same culture and ignores any sub cultures.
Using race or ethnicity as a representation of an individuals culture may also pose a problem.
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What is free will? The notion that humans can make choices and are not determined by internal and external forces like biological and environmental factors.
What is determinism? The view that an individuals behaviour is shaped or controlled by internal or external forces rather than the will to do something.
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What is hard determinism? It implies free will is not possible as out behaviour is always caused by internal or external events beyond our control.
What is soft determinism? All events including human behaviour have causes but behaviour can also be caused by our conscious choices in the absence of coercion.
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What is biological determinism? The belief that behaviour is caused by biological influences that we cannot control. E.g. genetic, hormonal and evolutionary.
What is environmental determinism? The belief that behaviour is caused by features of the environment that we cannot control.
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What is psychic determinism? The belief that behaviour is caused by unconscious conflicts that we cannot control.
One of the basic principles of science is that every event has a cause and that cause can be explained using general laws. Lab experiments allow to precisely control and predict human behaviour.
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Determinism is consistent with the aims of science as human behaviour is orderly and obeys laws. It has also lead to development of treatments, therapies and behavioural interventions. It doesn't make sense to choose to have mental illness.
A hard determinist view is not consistent with the legal system which holds offenders morally accountable for their actions. It is also unfalsifiable so it may not be very scientific.
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Freewill has face validity, it makes cognitive sense. Also research suggests people with an internal locus of control tend to be more healthy. This suggests even if we think we have free will, it has a positive impact on mind and behaviour.
However, neurological studies of decision making reveal evidence against free will and show that even our most basic experiences of free will are decided and determined by our brain before we become aware of them.
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A compromise interactionist position is the best approach such as the SLT that takes a soft determinist approach.
What is holism? An argument or theory which proposes that it only makes sense to study an indivisible system rather than its constituent parts.
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What is reductionism? The belief that human behaviour is best explained by breaking it down into smaller constituent parts.
The reductionist approach suggests levels of explanations. Highest level which are cultural and social explanations of how social groups affect our behaviour.
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Middle level at which there are psychological explanations of behaviour and the lower level which looks at biological explanations of how hormones and genes affect our behaviour.
What is biological reductionism? A form of reductionism that explains social and psychological phenomena at a lower biological level e.g. hormones, genes, neurotransmitters.
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What is environmental determinism? The attempt to explain all behaviour in terms of stimulus response links that have been learned through experience (the behaviourist approach).
What is experimental determinism? When behaviour is reduced to operationalised variables that can be manipulated and measured to determine causal relationships in experimental conditions.
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The reductionist approach only considers lower levels of explanations and so may lead to errors of misunderstanding. Wolpe developed the SD therapy based on the behaviourist approach and treated a woman for a fear of insects and found no improvement.
He later found her husband who she had not been getting along with had been given a insect nickname and her fear represented her marital problems. This shows how focusing on lower levels distracts us from a more appropriate level of explanation.
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It also shows how the behaviourist approach is environmentally reductionist and may not apply to complex human behaviours as it doesn't take into account other factors that influence behaviour such as cognitive and emotional factors.
The biological explanation has lead to development of drug therapies so people with mental illness can lead relatively normal lives and this reduces unemployment rates. It also doesn't blame the patient, less effort required.
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However, drug therapies are not 100% effective, do not work for everyone and can cause side effects. The only treat symptoms and do not address the cause of the disorder.
Most research is experimentally reductionist as it reduces behaviour to variables but this means the findings don't reflect real life.
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Findings from lab experiments like Loftus and Palmer who studied EWT have been refuted by real life studies that found EWTs to be highly accurate. This may be due to operationalisation and artificial settings.
There are other factors that motivate performance in real life such as stress cannot be ethically recreated in experiments.
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Holistic explanations tend not to be scientific and can become vague and speculative such as humanistic psychology which is seen as a rather loose set of concepts.
An interactionist approach is best to analyse how different levels of explanations interact. Dualists believe therein a physical brain and non physical mind which interact with each other and this is supported by research.
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The nature nurture debate is concerned with the extent to which aspects of behaviour are a product of inherited or acquired characteristics. Nature refers to innate influences while nurture refers to environmental influences.
The interactionist approach is the idea that nature and nurture are linked and cannot be separated so instead we should study how they interact and influence each other. E.g. diathesis stress model and epigenetic.
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Heredity is the genetic transmission of mental and physical characteristics between generations. The environment is any influence on human behaviour that is non genetic.
Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder which if detected at birth can be prevented from causing brain damage through a restricted diet showing the importance of an interactionist approach.
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The diathesis stress model is supported by research that has found not everyone with the gene for depression develops it and so a person's nature is only expressed under certain conditions of nurture.
Epigenetics is the material in a cell which acts as a switch to turn genes on or off. Life experiences like nutrition and stress control these switches. This explains why identical twins may not look alike and supports the interactionist approach.
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What is idiographic? An approach that focuses more on the individual case to understand behaviour rather than aiming to formulate general laws of behaviour. Focus on qualitative methods (case studies, interviews etc).
What is nomothetic? An approach that attempts to study human behaviour through the development of general principles and universal laws. Focus on quantitative methods (statistical analysis).
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Idiographic examples: humanistic psychology, Freud case study of Little Hans.
Nomothetic examples: biological, learning, cognitive approach etc. Psychometric testing e.g. personality tests.
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The idiographic approach focuses on the individual. Allport suggests we can only predict behaviour by studying individuals and psychology must not lose sight of what it is to be human. We cannot make generalisations and propose successful treatments.
The idiographic is not scientific as it uses qualitative methods which lack control and replicability & nomothetic approach increases validity.
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Methods using idiographic approach tend to be least scientific as conclusions rely on the subjective interpretation of the researcher and so are open to bias.
Holt claims there is not such thing as a unique individual and the idiographic approach can be used for making general laws. Milton and David start off research nomothetic and then develop to idiographic so both can be used together.
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Ethical implications is the impact that research may have in terms of the rights of other people especially participants. This includes at a societal level influencing public policy and/or the way in which certain groups of people are regarded.
Socially sensitive research refers to studies in which there are potential social consequences or implications either directly for the participants in research or class of individuals represented by them.
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Seiber and Stanley: 1. The wider effects of research should be carefully considered as studies may give scientific credence to prejudice and discrimination eg. the racial basis of intelligence.
2. What is the research likely to be used for and what would happen if it would be used for the wrong purpose? Findings may be adopted by the government for political ends or to shape public policy.
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3. Some findings that were previously presented as objective and unbiased have been proved to be highly suspect and in some cases fraudulent.
E.g. genes and IQ research by Cyril Burt led to the development of the 11+ system, lack of intervention by government to help underachieving individuals and racial differences between white and POC.
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Research into homosexuality that showed homosexual and heterosexual relationships are similar led to same sex marriage being legalised whereas it was previously seen as a mental disorder and people were treated against their will.
Due to Bowlby's maternal deprivation theory, mums were blamed for child problems and were made to feel guilty about going back to work as research has found child day care 3x more likely to have behavioural problems.
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Ethical guidelines protect the needs of the participants but they do not deal with the possible harm caused to people in society. Currently, guidelines do not ask researchers to consider how their research might be used by others and policy makers.
Studies of underrepresented groups and issues may promote a greater sensitivity and understanding, reducing prejudice and encouraging acceptance. E.g. EWT research has reduced risk of miscarriages of justice in the legal system.
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One solution is to simply avoid such research because there may be negative consequences. This would leave psychologists nothing to research but unimportant issues. Seiber and Stanley argue this is an avoidance of responsibility who have the duty.
Another solution is to engage with policy makers to reduce the likelihood of misuse of data, psychologists should take responsibility for findings. They should be aware of the possibility that their research might lead to discrimination.
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What is alpha bias? Psychological theories that suggest there are real and enduring differences between men and women. These may enhance or undervalue members of either sex but typically undervalue females.

Back

What is beta bias? Psychological theories that ignore or minimise differences between sexes. This often occurs when only one gender of participants are included as part of the research process and then the findings apply equally to both sexes.

Card 3

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Example of alpha bias: Freud's theory of superego (moral) development suggests because a girl does not experience castration anxiety in the phallic stage of psychosexual development, she forms a weaker superego and her sense of morality is inferior.

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Card 4

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What is androcentrism? Male centred research and theories where normal behaviour is judged according to male standards so female behaviour is often judged to be abnormal.

Back

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Card 5

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Implications: may create misleading assumptions about female behaviour, fail to challenge negative stereotypes and validate discriminatory practices. May provide scientific justification to deny women opportunities affecting their lives.

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