Issues and debates

Alpha bias
A tendency to exaggerate differences between men and women, resulting in theories devaluing one gender.
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Centred/focused on men, often to the exclusion or neglect of women.
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Beta bias
A tendency to ignore or minimise differences between men and women . Tend to ignore questions about womens' lives or assume insights derived from male studies will apply equally well to women.
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Gender bias
The differential treatment or representation of men and women based on stereotypes rather than real differences.
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The aim to develop theories that apply to all people, which may include real differences.
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Cultural bias
The tendency to judge all people in terms of your own cultural assumptions. This distorts or biases your judgement.
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Cultural relativism
The view that behaviour cannot be judged properly unless it is viewed in the context of the culture in which it originates.
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The rules, customs and morals and ways of interacting that bind together members of a society or some other collection of people.
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Seeing things from the point of view of ourselves and our social group, evaluating other groups of people using standards and customs of one's own culture.
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Behaviour is controlled by external or internal factors acting upon the individual.
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Free will
Each invididual has the power to make choices about their behaviour.
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Hard determinism
The view that all behaviour can be predicted and there is no free will. The two are incompatible.
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Soft determinism
A version of determinism that allows for some element of free will.
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Everything that is outside our body, which includes people, events and the physical world.
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The process by which traits are passed from parents to their offspring, usually referring to genetic inheritance.
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Interactionist approach
With reference to the nature-nurture debate, the view that the processes of nature and nurturework together rather than in opposition.
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Behaviour is seen to be a product of innate (biological/genetic) factors.
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The argument as to whether a person's development is mainly due to their genes or to environmental influences.
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Behaviour is a product of environmental influences.
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Perceiving the whole experience rather than the individual features and/or relations between them.
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An approach that breaks complex phenomena into more simple components.
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Focuses on individuals and emphasises uniqueness; favours qualitative methods in research.
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Seeks to formulate general laws of behaviour based on the study of groups and use of statistical (quantitative) techniques. It attempts to summarise the differences between people through generalisation.
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Socially sensitive research
Any research that might have direct social consequences for the participants in the research or the group they represent.
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Biological determinism
Determined by genetic influences and neural influences.
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Environmental determinism
Determined by previous experience through operant and classical conditioning.
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Psychic determinism
Adult behaviour is determined by a mix of innate drives and early experience i.e both internal and external forces.
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Evolutionary explanations
A characteristic that promotes survival and reproduction will be naturally selected because they are adaptive, thus the genes for that characteristic will be passed to subsequent generations.
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Biological reductionism
Reduced to physical level (the action of neurons, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc.)
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Environmental reductionism
All behaviour can be explained by simple stimulus-response links. (Relationship between behaviour and events in the environment.)
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Experimental reductionism
Reducing complex behaviours to isolated, operationalised variables that can be manipulated and measured to determine causal relationships.
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Gestalt psychology
We can only explain by consideration of the whole.
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Humanistic psychology
Individual reacts as a organised whole rather than a set of SR links. Lack of a unified identity leads to mental disorder.
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Cognitive psychology
The network as a whole behaves differently than the individual parts.
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.Equitable treatment
Resources which are vital to the participants' well being, like educational opportunities, are not witheld from one group whilst being available to another.
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A person's right to control the flow of information about themselves.
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A participant is not told the true aims of a study (e.g. what participation will involve) and thus cannot give truly informed consent.
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Concerns the communication of personal information from one person to another and trust that the information will be protected.
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Centred/focused on men, often to the exclusion or neglect of women.

Card 3


Beta bias


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Card 4


Gender bias


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Card 5




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