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Outline what is meant by 'culture bias' and describe culture bias in two or more psychological studies

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Outline what is meant by 'culture bias' and describe culture bias in two or more psychological studies Culture bias is a term which covers several types of bias in psychology. It can be used to refer to judgements and prejudices about certain cultures, or methodological biases which lead to such biased conclusions. For example, although a method of research may be developed and found to be reliable in one culture, the same may not be true in another. Culture bias in methodology prevents us from being able to identify innate behaviour in cross-cultural research. One type of culture bias is ethnocentrism, which is the tendency to use one's own culture as a basis for judgements about others. Eurocentrism, ethnocentrism from the perspective of Western cultures, is particularly widespread in modern Psychology, as it is commonplace for findings based solely on, for example, American participants to be generalised to people across the globe. The relevance of psychological research carried out in Western countries to the wider world is questionnable. ...read more.


The classifications drawn by Ainsworth & Bell are also culturally biased, because they explicitly state which type of attachment is desirable (secure) and which types are undesirable (insecure). This, combined with the eurocentrism of the methodology itself, has led to parenting styles and infant attachments in some cultures to be mislabelled as inferior to those of the United States, and yet no significant negative effects related to attachments have been observed in such cultures. Another study frequently criticised for eurocentrism is Milgram's (1963) study into obedience, in which participants were deceived into believing that they were required to administer high-voltage electric shocks to a confederate. In a Smith & Bond's (1998) comparison of replications of the same study in different cultures, it was shown that there were differences between cultures in how many people obeyed the researcher in the experiment. For example, 65% of Americans, compared with 85% of Germans, 40% of Australian males, 16% of Australian females and 62% of Jordanians conformed. This indicates cultural differences, meaning that the Milgram's conclusions may hold cultural bias; but at the same time such cultural differences may not actually exist. ...read more.


However, placing a culture on the 'individualism-collectivism continuum' is not as easy as first thought. In relationship theories, the US if often cited as an individualist culture and Japan as a collectivist culture; but when Takano & Osaka (1999) reviewed 15 studies to compare the two nations, only 14 studies supported the distinction. This indicates that even relationship theories which allow for differences between individualist and collectivist cultures are biased because they underestimate the role of situational factors and overestimate that of personal characteristics when analysing of behaviour. Another theory frequently noted for its culture bias is Kohlberg's (1976) theory of moral understanding. This stage theory describes morality from a very Western, democratic perspective. However, these morals may not be held in other parts of the world, meaning that the theory may lack relevance in the wider world. When Snarey (1985) studied traditional village societies, only the first four stages from Kohlberg's theory were found to be present, with the stage post-conventional reasoning being completely absent. On fact, it was fount that many moral judgements from some cultures did not fit into any of Kohlberg's stages, suggesting that his theory does not account for other forms of reasoning. Clive Newstead ...read more.

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This is an excellent essay. The candidate forms a very clear, profound and precise essay about the presence of culture biases (particularly ethnocentrism and more specifically eurocentrism) with regard to even the most important, ground-breaking research (e.g. Milgram, Kohlberg). There ...

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Response to the question

This is an excellent essay. The candidate forms a very clear, profound and precise essay about the presence of culture biases (particularly ethnocentrism and more specifically eurocentrism) with regard to even the most important, ground-breaking research (e.g. Milgram, Kohlberg). There is evidence of a thorough understanding also of the reasons why this research was carried out, and the practical issues the arise as a result of eurocentric mindsets in methodology. All the points raises are reasoned well with a deft hand at applying important psychological terminology to them in order to fortify their argument, giving the examiner indication of confidence and comfortability when evaluating psychology. For future reference, another useful study to use is Gould/Yerkes' 'Nation of Morons' study, in which hugely biased methodological flaws led over 1.75M participants to be incorrectly tested for intelligence due to tests that were biased towards American/Western cultural general knowledge.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is very prescriptive, and this is to be expected, as most psychology essay require a rigid structure in order write all the important details down in the time/word limit assigned. So there is by no means any bad analysis here - all of it is perfectly valid, well-cited and uses a plethora of psychological evidence as support that the factors contributing to cultural biases they argue do exist. The use of so many studies can only improve the answer. Not only to they make the analysis more trustworthy - it shows the examiner the candidate has good revision skills and has possibly conducted external research to help with their answer.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is good from both an English and Psychology perspective. From an English perspective, the candidate makes few, if any, errors in grammar, only very minor errors in spelling and no errors in punctuation. The errors in spelling simply consist of the candidate misplacing one letter for another - a basic typing error "fount", made within the last three lines - this is easily picked up by a spell-checker and must not be left unattended. From a Psychology perspective the candidate makes a good use of valid and appropriate terminology. This is a real bonus if candidate's can apply expert terminology so confidently, as it makes your answer more accurate but also more fluid, and therefore interesting to read (which is appreciated by any examiner).

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