Psychology: Sociocultural LOA

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Psychology: Sociocultural LOA
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2012-04-29 17:04:19
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Psych IB Sociocultural LOA
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IB Psychology Sociocultural Learning Outcomes
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  1. Outline the principles that define the Sociocultural LOA
    Principle 1: Human beings are social animals and we have the basic need to 'belong'

    Principle 2: Culture influences behavior

    Principle 3: Because humans are social animals, they have a 'social self'

    Principle 4: People's views of the world are resistant to change.
  2. Explain how principles may be demonstrated in research throught theories.
  3. Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the sociocultural LOA
    *In order to see how people interact with each other, modern day psychologists use qualitative research in order to keep the participants behavior as realistic as possible, often times using naturalistic reseach. (Weakness: data is descpriptive and now statistical and there is no manipulated variable.) (Strengths: helps avoid lack of ecological validity.)*

    Interviews: the interviwer must remember gender and nonverbal cues in order to determine the types of questions to be asked and develop ramport while also being able to utilize active listening techniques.

    Focus Groups: this creates an enviroment that could possibly be more stimulating to the interviwer and help them bring up points or ideas that would not normally be brought up in a one on one interview. The researchers use open -ended questions to encourage disscussion.

    Participant Obervations: this is where the researchers immerse themselves in a social setting for an extended period of time and observe behavior. [Overt]: meaning that the confederate is known within the group and requires a great deal of trust. [Covert]: participants do not know about the confederate and is often used with hostile or un-trusting participants, limited by the ethical concerns, and the memory can be distorted.
  4. DIscuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the sociocultural LOA
    Informed Consent: throught overt/covert observations where intent is not disclosed along with decit to gain trust and not always obtained consent

    Anonymity and Confedentiality

    Participants Protected from Potential Harm

    Researchers Protected from Potential Harm
  5. Describe the role of situational and dispositional factors in explaining behavior
    Attribution Theory: (Fritz Heider 1958) - humans have a tendency to give casual explainations for someones behavior often by creating either the situation or the persons' disposition (making inferences about intention and responsibility)

    • Actor-Observer Effect: people make an attribution about behavior depending on whether they are performing it themselves or observing someone else doing it.
    • -Situational Factors: attributed to external factors
    • -Dispositional Factors: attributed to personal traits or tendencies
  6. Discuss two errors in attribution
    • 1. Fundamental Attribution Error: when people overestimate the role of dispositional factors in an individuals behavior and underestimate the situational factors. We like to think of ourselves as adaptable and not a singular 'type' of person and when we observe others we don't know a lot about them so we attribute their actions to their disposition.
    • *How we explain someones behavior affects how we react to it.*


    • 2. Self Serving Bias: when we take credit for our own successes and disassosiate ourselves from our failures attributing them to the situation.
    • -Lau and Russel: (1980)- the football study where when the team wins, it is because of internal factors (i.e. wellness, talent, practice, etc...) when the team looses, it is because of external factors (i.e. injuries, weather, referees, etc...)
    • -Greenberg et al: (1982)- we use the self serving bias to protect our self esteem thus we attribute our wins to ourselves and our failures to the situatino.
    • -Miller and Ross: (1975)- cognatve facotrs may play a role in self-serving bias. When we expect to triumph and we win, it is because of skill and ability. When we expect to fail and we triumph, it is because of luck and external factors. When we expect to triumph and fail, it is because of bad luck and external factors (think of the Aliso Game).
    • *one exception to the self serving bias is people who are severely depressed tend to make more dispositional attributions thus blaming themselves for their negative feelings.*
    • -Kashia and Triandis: (1986): the difference between Japanese students and American students. When asked to remember details from slides of scenes from unfamiliar countries and then questioned on performance, the American students said that it was their abitiy (i.e. good memory) whereas the Japanese tend to explain things in terms of lack of ability illustrating the modesty bias.
  7. Evaluate the social identity theory.
    *individuals try to improve their self-image by trying to enhance their self-esteem based on either their personal identity or various social identities; based on the cognative process of social catagorization, and used to explain social phenomena (i.e. ethnocentrism, in-group favoritism, stereotyping, conformity, etc...) and can produce competitive intragroup behavior*

    -Cialdini et al:
    (1976) - studied the social comparison among college football fans. After a win, more fans would be found visually and verbally supporting the team as compared to after a loss. This explains our need for positive self-concept (bias in intergroup comparisons) {Tajfel (1978) refers to this as the establishment of positive distinctiveness}

    -People exhibit the in-group favoritism and a pattern of discrimination against the out group. The indivuduals self esteem is manipulated by social comparison {the benefits of being in the in-group as opposed to the out-group.}

    -Kandisky v. Klee experiment, Tajfel et. al: (1971) - boys were randomly assigned to a group based on their supposed preference for the art of either Klee or Kandisky. The boys were more likely to identify with the others in their group and rate them higher than those in the other group. Group members see themselves as similar in attitude and behavior and a bond is formed even if they did not know one another prior to the study.

    -Limitations: 1. the theory does not actually identify human behavior. 2. the theory is reductionist (failing to address the enviroment that interacts with the self. Culture may play a role in behavior more than ones sense of in group identity.)
  8. Explain the formation of stereotypes and their effect on behavior
    • -Campbell: (1967) - two key sources to the developement of stereotypes. 1. Personal Experience with individuals and/or groups. 2. Gatekeepers, those who give us our information (i.e. media, parents, and other members of our culture).
    • -Grain of Truth Hypothesis: stereotypes have basis in some reality and that an experience with a group or an individual will become generalized to the whole.
    • -Limitations: errors in attribution (SSB and FAE) may occur

    -Hamilton and Gifford: (1976) - Illusory Correlation {people will see a correlation between two variables even when there is none.} people will form false assosiations between membership of a social group and specific behaviors. Culturally based prejudice about social groups can to some extent be classified as illusory correlation. Conformation Bias {people tend to overlook information that contradicts what they already believe} people pay attention to actions that confirm the belief and ignore those that contradict. *makes stereotypical thinking resistant to change.*


    • Stereotype Threat: the effect a stereotype has on an individuals performance usually occurring when a person is put into a situation where there is a threat of being judged or treated stereotypically or fear of 'confirming' a stereotype.
    • -Spotlight Anxiety: generated from the stereotype threat causing emotional stress and pressure that may undermine peformance. [Steele 1997]

    -Steele and Aaronson :
    (1995) - participants were split into two groups and given a verbal test with varring multiple choice questions. Group one was told that it was an actual test on verbal abilities while group two was told that the test was for a laboratory task used to study how certain problems are generally solved. The African American participants in group one scored significantly lower than their European counterparts, however in group two, the scores were raised to match that of their European counterparts.

    -Spencer et al: (1977) - women v. men in math with equal mathematical abilities. Women under the stereotype threat would underperform compared to the men taking the difficult mathematics test. Because of the negative stereotype, women performed signifigantly lower than the men even though their mathematic skills were equal. However when tested in literature skills, the men and women performed equally.
  9. Explain the social learning theory making reference to two relevant studies.
    *Social Learning Theory assumes that humans learn behavior through observational learning by watching models and imitating their behavior. The models can either have indirect or direct influence on the learner.*

    • -Factors of the Social Learning Theory:
    • 1. attention (observer must pay attention to the model.)
    • 2. retention (observer must remember observed action.)
    • 3. motor reproduction (must be able to physically replicate the action.)
    • 4. motivation (observer must be motivated to replicate action)
    • a) consistency: model must be consitent across situations
    • b) indentification towards the model: connection to them
    • c) rewards/punishments
    • d) liking the model

    -Bandura: (1961) the Bobo doll experiment in which a confederate adult was used to measure hw much a child imitated the adult when the adult was being mean or haming the bobo doll. So what happened was that the child imitated the adult in the Bobo doll experiment in that they also hit, threw, yelled, and/or kicked the Bobo doll much like the confederate adult did. The more aggressive the adult, the more aggressive the child became.

    -Huesmann and Eron: (1986) - longitudinal study that monitors childrens behavior over a fifteen year period and found that the number of violent shows watched positively correlated with aggressive behaviors in teenage years. Eight year olds who watched a lot of violent television shows, had a higher chance to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as an adult.

    • -Kimball and Zabrack: (1986) - the Canadian violent children study to determine if there is a correlation betweem violence on television and aggressive behavior that found that the kids became more aggressive two years after introduction of television into the town
    • -Limitations: there could have been past experiences of violence and/or abuse.

    *Television is not always a negative influence. Sesame Street was aired in order to develop and teach academic and social skills. The Sabido Method was employed, based on Bandura's Socail Learning Theory, to change behavior (i.e. safe sex, family planning, and gender equality)*

    Strenths: -helps explain why behaviors may be passed down through generations -explains why children pick up on human traits without trial and error learning.

    Weaknesses: -although the actions can be aquired, they may not always be demonstrated (a gap exists between observation and behavior). -some never learn how to do a behavior despite the model.
  10. Discuss the use of compliance techiniques.
    *the result of direct pressure to respond to a request*

    -Cialdini: outlined the ways in which individuals are influenced to comply with the demands or desires of others.

    • 1. Authority: people conform more often with those in a position of some authority.
    • -Milgram: (1963) - shock experiment in which participants were required to shock someone for getting an answer wrong (note: person was just a recording) and see how "far" they would go with the shocks. Confederate would tell them to continue while pretending to be an authoritative person (doctor) despite screams from the 'person'. 63% of the participants continued until the end of the experiment, going as high with the shocks as possible.

    • 2. Commitment: once someone makes a choice they will encounter personal and interpersonal pressure to behave consistently with that commitment even when it appears illogical to outsiders.
    • -Kurt Lewin: (1951) - goal gradients in which the longer people commit themselves to something the less likely they are to abandon their goal.
    • -Dickerson et al: (1992) - foot-in-the-door phenomenon [the tendency for people who agree to a small action to comply later with a larger one] was studied in which university students and their water usage was monitored, they were asked to do two things 1. sign a poster about conserving water 2. take a survey designed to make them think about their water usage. They found that students who did both had an average shower time of 3.2 minutes, significantly lower than the average shower time across the dorm as a whole. Limitation by the fact that the students could have already had a commitment to conserving water.
    • -Cialdini et al: (1974) - Low balling [people who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante v. being asked for the whole schebang up front.] was studied by using two groups in which one group was asked to do a psych study at 7am and only 24% were willing. However the second group was asked to do a study, but were not given a time, of these 56% agreed to the study and when told that they could back out after given the 7am time, none did. The day of the study, 95% showed up for their appointment at 7am.

    3. Liking: people comply with the requests of people they like. (i.e. celebrities endorsing products.)

    • 4. Reciprocity: people often feel they need to "return a favor"
    • *Reciprocity Principle is the social norm that we should treat others the way they treat us*
    • -Cialdini et al: (1975) - door-in-the-face phenomenon [when one feels another person has already compromised on what he or she wanted, this compromise should be acknowledged with some behavior. i.e. going from a big request to a small one] was studies by using two groups in which group one was asked to chaperone a group of juvinille delinquents to the zoo and 83% refused to volunteer. However in the second group, university students were first asked to sign up as counselors for a minimum of two years working two hours per week for which no one agreed to volunteer and then secondly were asked to serve as chaperones, 50% agreed.

    5. Scarcity: opportunities seem more valuable when they are less readily available (i.e. last chance sales)

    6. Social Proof: people will view a behavior as correct if they see another performing it
  11. Evaluate research on conformity to group norms.
    *behavior is contagious and humans are natural mimics (Anderson and others, 2004, found that chimps are more likely to yawn when they observe another chimp yawning*

    Chartrand and Baragh: (1999) - [the Chameleon Effect: unconciously mimicing anothers expression, posture, and voice tone in order to help us feel what others are feeling] a student worked alongside a confederate in a room where the confederate would occasionally rub their face or shake their foot. Participants tended to rub their own faces when the confederate did and shook their foot in the same fashion. Automatic mimicry is part of empathy and those that mimic the most are often the most well liked and empathetic.

    Lakin and Chartrand: (2003) - people most eager to fit in with a group are especially prone to nonconscious momicry.

    • Asch: (1951) - conformity study, line test trying to see to what extent would a person conform to an incorrect answer on a test if the response from the other group members was unanimous. The participants would be asked to find the line that most matched the standard line, and out of 18 trials the confederates would answer the majority incorrectly. Approximately 75% of the participants agreed with the confederate at least once during the experiment. An average of 32% agreed more than half of the trials, however 24% of the participants didnt conform to any of the incorrect answers.
    • Limitations: -Ethics (decpetion and anxiety) -Interpretations of findings (Biased because in the face of unanimity 24% did not conform) -Methodology (ecological validity and demand characteristics~Hawthorne and Screw You) -Culture (not multicultural)
  12. Discuss factors influencing conformity
    • 1. Group Size: if the group has at least three people, participants are more likely to conform, however larger groups do not increase the rate of conformity and in some cases very large groups lower it.
    • 2. Unanimity: conformity is more likely to occur when all confederates agree.
    • 3. Confidence: When individuals feel they are competent to make decisions with regard to field expertise, they are less likely to conform. If one is made to feel incompetent or insecure they are more likely to conform
    • 4. Self-Esteem: Participants with high self-esteem are less likely to conform.
    • 5. Culture: If a culture strongly encourages respect for social standards, the participant may be more likely to conform.

    *normative social influence:
    influence resulting from a persons desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval based upon our nature as social animals and the need to be accepted and belong*

    • *informational social influence: influence resulting from ones willingness to accept others opinions about reality based on the cognitive process of processing information
    • -Festinger (1954): people evaluate their own opinions and ideas through social comparison, or by looking at what other people are doing.
    • -Robert Baron et al (1996): by using college students, he modified and modernized Asch's study by using people instead of lines. He had four different conditions, easy and important or unimportant or difficult and important or unimportmant. When the accuracy of judgements was important, people rarely conformed when the task was easy however conformed half the time when the task was difficult. *if one is unsure of what is right, and being right matters, we are receptive to others opinions.*
    • *Cognitive Dissonance: the theory tht we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent either by conforming to the groups opinions of the behavior, or rationalizing ouropinion and developing the confidence that our opinion is acceptable.
    • -Festinger and Carlsmith: (1959) - students were given either a one or a twenty to tell other students that a boring talk was interesting those who only recieved a one had more cognitive dissonance because a one was not a justifiable reason to lie.
  13. Define the terms culture and cultural norms
    • Culture: the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next. It changes in response to enviromental and social changes over time, however some components are explicit (written rules) and others are implicit (simply understood).
    • -Hofstede: (2002) - culture is a 'mental software' of cultural schemas, shared by members of a group and learned through daily interaction and feedback from other group members, that have been internalized and influence thinking, emotions, and behaviors.

    Cultural Norms: behavior patterns that are typical of specific groups (cultures). Often times passed from one generation to another through observational learning and gatekeepers, i.e. marriages, attitudes towards alcohol, acceptance (or rejection) of spanking etc...
  14. Examine the role of two cultural dimensions on behavior
    *Cultural dimensions are the perspectives of a culture based on values and cultural norms*

    • 1. Individualism v. Collectivism (is it the individual that matters or is it the group)
    • 2. Uncertainty Avoidance (a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity or unstructured situations)
    • 3. Long-Term and Short-Term Orientation (the way a society view the past and the future. traditional versus future)

    • -Hoefstede's Collectivism Scale - five cultural dimensions
    • 1. Power Distance Index: the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. {a societys level of inequality is endorsed by both leaders and followers}
    • 2. Individualism (DV) v. Collectivism: individualistics see the ties between individuals are loose and everyone is expected to be independent from others. collectivists see societies where there are strong, cohesive in-groups often including extended families which protect each other with unquestionable loyalty.
    • 3. Masculinity (MAS) - Feminity: the distribution of roles between the genders. men and womens values differ from one country to another however womens values differ less among societies than mens.
    • 4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI): a societies tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity, ultimately relating to mans search for truth, indicating to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations.
    • 5. Long-Term Orientation - Short-Term Orientation: Short terms see thift and perservearance whereas long term sees respect for tradition, social obligations, and protecting ones 'face'
    • Limitations: Ecological Validity (one should not assume members from two different cultures must be different or that one person will always demonstrate the cultural norms.
  15. Using examples explain emic and etic concepts
    • Emics: *cultural specific behaviors* truth may be relative based on the culture in which one is raised. This approach looks at behaviors that are culturally specific. It is important that psychologists recognize cultural varriation in order to understand members of other cultural groups.
    • -marriage ceremony traditions
    • -what is valued in educating children
    • -how stress is displayed

    • Etics: *pan-cultural groups of continuums and every culture falls into these continuums some way (Hank Davis 2008)* involves drawing on the notion of universal properties/dimensions of cultures which share common perceptual, cognitive, and emotional structures. This approach is often times taken within cross-cultural psychology where behavior is compared across specific cultures
    • -marriage
    • -kinship principle
    • -education
    • -attributions
    • -stress

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