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Socio Cultural Loa Learning Outcomes Note

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Socio-cultural LOA

Key words


GLO 1: Outline principles that define the sociocultural level of analysis. GLO 2: Explain how principles that define the sociocultural level of analysis may be demonstrated in research.

Our social and cultural environment influences our behaviour Culture - norm and values that define a society In an ever more multicultural society, there is a need to understand the effect of culture on a person's behaviour, because the study of culture may help us to better understand and appreciate cultural differences.

o o

Asch's Line Study


Humans have a basic need to belong. The biological and cognitive systems that make up the individual are embedded in an even larger system of interrelationships with other individuals. The relationship between the individual and the group is bidirectional: as the individual is affected by being part of a group, the individual can also effect behaviours in the group o Baumeister and Leary (1995) assert that humans are motivated to form and maintain interpersonal relationships and human culture is, to some extent, adapted to enable people to satisfy the psychological need to live together Tajfel (1971)


GLO 3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the sociocultural level of analysis (for example, participant/naturalistic observation, interviews, case studies).

Laboratory experiment Case study Survey Interview

o o o o o o

Asch Bandura Charlton Hofstede Lau and Russell Manson

GLO 4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the sociocultural level of analysis.

Deception o Freedman and Fraser o Asch o Milgram o Johnson o Tajfel o Bargh o Is it justified?
Informed & Parental consent o Bandura (children will be difficult to get consent, so parental consent is needed) o Freedman and Fraser o Asch o Milgram o Johnson o Tajfel o Bargh Protection from harm o Bandura o Milgram o Zimbardo o Voluntary participation?
Right to Withdraw o Milgram

Socio-cultural LOA

Key words


SC 1: Describe the role of situational and dispositional factors in explaining behaviour.

Attribution Theory - how people make sense of their world; what cause and effect inferences they make about the behaviours of others and of themselves. Dispositional causes - When attributing the cause of people's behaviour to their internal characteristics, we are making a dispositional attribution. The term disposition refers to somebody's beliefs, attitudes, and personality. Situational causes - When we attribute people's behaviour to external factors such as the immediate rewards and punishments in a social setting or social pressure, we are making a situational attribution The purpose behind making attributions is to achieve COGNITIVE CONTROL over one's environment by explaining and understanding the causes behind behaviours and environmental occurrences. Making attributions gives order and predictability to our lives; helps us to cope. When you make attributions you analyze the situation by making inferences (going beyond the information given) about the dispositions of others and yourself as well as inferences about the environment and how it may be causing a person to behave. Attribution - to explain by indicating a cause; states that there is a strong need in individuals to understand transient events by attributing them to the actor's disposition or to stable characteristics of the environment.

Milgram Participants were spurred on by the situation (experimental researcher)…. Although, one could argue that as 35%
of participants stopped obeying before 450 volts aspects of their personality (disposition) may have been the cause for their refusal to continue. Zimbardo's Prison experiment supports situational factors, as participants [guards] claimed that they were only behaving that way because of the situation and that their behaviour wasn't a reflection of their true character.

SC 2: Discuss two errors in attributions.


The fundamental attribution error is the name given to the tendency people have to make dispositional rather than situational attributions, even when there are clear situational factors present. When we observe some behaviour, we draw an inference, based on largely automatic and often unconscious processing, that the behaviour has been caused by some disposition. The second step is based on more controlled and conscious processing. During this step, we enquire into whether or not situational factors may have had an influence on the behaviour. We make FAE as often as we do: the first step always forms part of the attribution process, but we proceed only occasionally to the second step. In effect, the FAE happens either because we are involved in other tasks or because we believe that for the behaviour under consideration Ross et al Jones & Harris (1967) Strength


Promoted understanding of common errors in explanation of what happens in the world Has proven very robust and has been supported by many studies

Culturally biased with too much focus on individualism Much research on the theory has been conducted in laboratories and with a student sample

Self-serving bias
 Our attribution exhibit the self-serving bias when we explain our success on the basis of internal, dispositional factors and blame our failure to external, situational factors.
 Such biased attributions are viewed by many as serving the interests of preserving or increasing self-esteem
 We are more likely to rely on self-serving attributions when we fail in a domain in which we cannot improve
 We are more likely to attribute our failure to internal causes if we believe we can do something to improve the situation in the future
 The emotional state we are in also affects our reliance on SSB: being in a bad mood may reverse the attribution pattern that characterize self-serving attribution

Johnson et al (1964) Lau & Russel (1980) Strengths


Socio-cultural LOA

Key words


Can explain why some people (individualist) explain their failures as being caused by situational factors

Is culturally biased. It cannot explain why some cultures emphasize a self-effecting attribution

Cultural considerations Culture-specific attribution styles may be a natural part of enculturation and socialization. Some argue that the SSB is primarily links to individualist cultures but others believe it is can be found in both individualistic and collectivist cultures.

SC 3: Evaluate social identity theory, making reference to relevant studies.

Sociol identity can be defined as the part of one's self-concept based on the knowledge of membership in social group (s) in combination with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership o Individuals strive to maintain a positive self-concept as well as a positive social identity. People make comparisons between ingroup and outgroup on valued dimensions to establish, maintain, and defend positive ingroup distinctiveness o When a social comparison results in a positive outcome for the ingroup, the need for a positive social identity is satisfied but the opposite may also happen o Ingroup discrimination can be one way to uphold a positive social identity for the ingroup
 SIT was preceded by Tajfel's (1969) work on categorisation, assimilation, and the search for coherence.
 Tajfel stated that in order for human beings to make sense of the world, they engage in the processes of categorisation, assimilation, and the search for coherence. Categorisation
 Process of classifying people, objects and events into different categories.
 Tajfel's research showed that people tend to overestimate the differences between things placed in different categories, and to underestimate the differences between things placed in the same category, i.e. people in Outgroup are very different to ourselves and people in ingroup are very similar to ourselves.
 This view forms the basis of stereotypes. Assimilation
 Refers to learning the norms, values, attitudes and beliefs of society or particular groups within society.
 See the world through the eyes of the ingroup. Search for Coherence
 We want an understanding of the world that makes sense to us.
 Tajfel argued that to cope with new situations that threaten coherence, we draw on the values and attitudes or the groups to which we belong. Social Identity Theory, Prejudice and Stereotypes
 Social Identity Theory is applied to explain prejudice by noting the positive emotional benefit or self enhancement that individuals receive when they derogate outgroups.
 "I am better than you" is one effective way of creating a positive self-judgment, and this works at the group level as well, "We are better than them".
 When people's ingroup performs better than the Outgroup, people report higher self-esteem and more positive judgments of their own abilities. Social Identity Theory and Intergroup Conflict
 When we identify strongly with an ingroup, we are more likely to want to heighten the status of that group, because if the ingroup is better, it enhances our self-esteem.
 To achieve this, we create negative stereotypes about outgroups.
 These negative stereotypes engender mistrust, hostility, discrimination between groups à prejudice à intergroup conflict.
 Outgroup homogeneity effect: "They're all the same". Tendency to overestimate the similarity of members of groups to which they do not belong (outgroups). Relates to Tajfel's findings on categorisation.
 Situations involving inter-group behaviour elicit great competition than those involving interpersonal behaviour. Effect of stereotypes on behaviour
 Social groups are categorized into ingroups and outgroup. Once people are categorized as belonging to one group rather than another they tend to emphasize similarities to individuals in that group and exaggerate differences between groups. Stereotypes of outgroups are often central to group identity
 Confirmation bias: People tend to pay attention to stereotype-consistent information and disregard stereotypeinconsistent information
 Stereotype threat: negative stereotypes may be internalized by stereotyped groups
 Minimal Group Paradigm: groups are defined by arbitrary criteria Strengths


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