(Original post by Groove)
Is this of any use?
With reference to A2 applications and AS approaches discuss issues of cultural bias and ethnocentrism
- A01 - If research is interpreted from the view of one culture it might not be appropriate for a different culture.
- A01 - Cultural bias can occur if a researcher assumes that an emic construct is actually an etic (a theoretical idea that is assumed to apply to all cultural groups). This results in an imposed etic - where a culture-specific idea is wrongly imposed on another culture.
- A01 - Ethnocentrism is an example of cultural bias. The researcher takes the views or behaviour of their own culture as being 'normal' and may then view different cultures as abnormal, deviant or even deficient.
- A01 - Ethnocentrism can be discussed as an issue in Clinical Psychology in defining abnormality. The deviation from social norms definition views abnormality as any behaviour which is not in line with the expectations of a particular culture. However taking this view could lead to people from other cultures being viewed as abnormal. The definition is both era dependent and culturally relative and thus cannot be used as a universal criteria for defining abnormality.
- A01 - Similarly the statistical infrequency definition where abnormality is defined as behaviour which does not occur frequently within a given population creates issues of cultural bias. By this definition different subcultures may show behaviour that is statistically rare in the majority culture and be defined as abnormal.
- A02 - Concepts of abnormal behaviour have been shown to differ cross-culturally eg. Hearing voices in one culture might be normal and interpreted as being connected to spirits, whereas in another culture it may be seen as abnormal.
- A01 - There is also an issue of cultural relativism that is raised in the diagnosis of disorders using the DSM-IV-TR classification system. Some conditions are thought to be culture specific. Certain disorders that are widely found in a given culture are not recognised in others (culture-bound syndromes). The APA formally recognised such disorders by including a separate listing in the appendix of DSM-IV. Western psychiatry maintains that most of these disorders are merely variants of known syndromes & do not warrant new classification. The exclusion of these disorders may be an example of ethnocentrism.
- A02 - Fernando (1988) claims stereotyped ideas about race are inherent in British Psychiatry. Research has shown the compulsory detaining of African-Caribbean patients in secure hospitals is higher than for any other group, which may be linked to stereotypes.
- A02 - DSM should be objective, however evidence suggests that clinicians are subjective and diagnoses are affected by cultural bias and stereotypes.
- A02 - Littlewood and Lipsedge suggest that higher rates of diagnoses of disorders such as schizophrenia in black and Irish people in Britain results from bias in diagnosis.
- A01 - In Child Psychology, the work of Ainsworth using the 'strange situation' can be criticised in terms of ethnocentrism. Having studied children in America and in Uganda the 'strange situation' was developed as a way of studying attachment behaviours and it was proposed as a research tool that could be used universally. A number of cross-cultural studies have been conducted which employ the techniques. In a meta-analysis, Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg found that in all cultures B (secure) was the modal attachment, however in West Germany there was a higher rate of avoidant attachments
(type A) than in Britain, Israel or Japan and in Israel more resistant attachments (type C) were found.
- A02 - However the interpretations of the attachment behaviour may show cultural bias. Japanese children did not show avoidant behaviour in stage 8 as the mothers tended to pick the infant up immediately, which may reflect the cultural tradition of encouraging dependency. Grossman and Grossman observed that infant behaviour described as avoidant in Britain may be interpreted as 'independent' in Germany which may explain the higher rate of type A attachments.
- A01 - In research by Sagi et al (1991) Israeli infants showed a higher rate of anxious- resistant attachments (33%) and almost 10% less secure attachments. These types of attachments may be assumed to be the result of mothers being less successful at responding effectively to their babies needs. However this may be an example of ethnocentric misinterpretation which can result when a researcher from one culture studies another culture, without considering the cultural differences which may affect the findings.
- A02 - The Israeli sample was taken from a kibbutz (communal farm) where the infants were looked after much of the time by adults who were not part of their family, but their response may be due to the presence of strangers which is not usual for them.
- A01 - In the Psychodynamic Approach Freud proposed that processes such as the psychosexual stages and the Oedipus complex are universal. The Oedipus complex is ethnocentric (centring on a particular ethnic group) because Freud assumed that all boys must experience this stage. However he based his theories on (clinical) case studies of individuals from Western culture (often women) in the Victorian era and self-analysis. Also cross-cultural research has raised questions about the universality of the theories.
- A02 - Malinowski observed that young boys living in the Trobriand islands exhibited the type of hostility that Freud had described in his formulation of the Oedipus complex, only it was directed not at their fathers but at a maternal uncle who was assigned the role of family disciplinarian. This observation posed a challenge to Freud's oedipal theory by raising the possibility that boys' tense relations with their fathers at a certain period in their lives may be a reaction to discipline rather than a manifestation of sexual jealousy.
- A02 - Cross-cultural research such as that conducted by Malinowski can provide more valid insights into human behaviour and help to avoid ethnocentrism.
- A01 - Ethnocentrism has also been raised as an issue in the Social Approach In Sherif et al's research the boys who participated in the study showed ethnocentrism in favouring their in-group over the out-group. The study can be criticised in terms of ethnocentric sampling bias whereby a small, unrepresentative sample was used and the findings were used to support the theory of Realistic Conflict - thus generalisations were made from this group. Ethnocentrism may be specific to the white middle class American boys who were used in the study.
Guess you could also include this:
-Cultural bias was shown in claim that holocaust occurred due to obedient nature of German people. Claim was negated by Milgram's research and subsequent obedience research in other cultures eg. Meeus and Raaijmakers, indicating that obedience occurs in all cultures. IQ tests are criticised for being culturally biased, but western IQ tests have been used to assess individuals from other cultures eg. during the eugenics movement and in determining those suitable for immigration into the US.
And also some general brainstorming on Ethnocentrism
Clinician's can be bias when diagnosing mental disorders due to the prevalent social norms within western culture. Hearing voices may signify schizophrenia in the UK or USA but in other cultures there may be a spiritual explanation.
In defining abnormality - the social norm definition is culturally specific and if the same definition of abnormality were applied to different cultures this would show ethnocentrism - taking the social norms of one culture and assuming they will fit other cultures.
Brown and Harris - working class women in Camberwell, London - limited sample on which to draw conclusions about experiences and depression.
Freud - the majority of his case studies were of Victorian women and all others were clinical cases of people with psychological issues such as phobias eg. Little Hans. However he based his theories on these studies and on self-analysis and claimed aspects such as the Oedipal complex were universal. However he has been criticised for many reasons including androcentrism, also that his theories were more relevant to the Victorian era, and that some of his ideas did not apply cross-culturally eg. Studies investigating the Oedipus complex and the consequences of family structures that differed from those required in Freud's theory.
In the Psychodynamic StudyBook: 'The idea of the Oedipus complex is ethnocentric (centring on a particular ethnic group) because Freud assumed that all boys must experience this stage. However Freud was writing about a particular group of people at a particular period of time. Many cultures including our own do not have families consisting of a Mother and Father living together in one home. Freud, for example, argued that through the Oedipus complex boys identify with their fathers and this established their sexual identification and if this process could not take place, Freud considered that the young child would be likely to grow up homosexual. Evidence does not support this argument'
In Sherif et al's study the boys showed ethnocentrism in favouring their in-group over the out-group. However the study was criticised as ethnocentrism may be specific to the white middle class American boys who were used in the study. The study can be criticised in terms of ethnocentric sampling bias whereby a small, unrepresentative sample was used and the findings were used to support the theory of Realistic Conflict - thus generalisation were made from this group. Child Psychology StudyBook: The sample is biased in the research by Ainsworth and Bell -100 middle class American families. Therefore, it is difficult to generalise the findings outside of America and to working class families as there may be a cultural bias in the findings. However other research using this procedure has studied families in different cultures and some similar results have been found'. 'HOWEVER Japanese infants are treated very differently from Israeli infants. Japanese mothers rarely leave their infants alone with a stranger, whereas Israeli children are accustomed to being separated from their mother, but they rarely encounter complete strangers. Thus resistant behaviour shown by Israeli children may be due to the presence of a stranger whereas for Japanese children it may be due to being separated from their mother'. 'Some argue that the strange situation is not an appropriate tool for measuring attachment types in different cultures because we cannot determine whether it is the culture or the attachment type that is being measured - it is not a culture-free research method'. - The development of intelligence testing - IQ tests are criticised for being culturally biased. Questions are sometimes linked to knowledge of a culture or based on cultural definitions of intelligence eg. mathematical and spatial intelligence as oppose to emotional intelligence.
• Remind yourself of (a) Ainsworth's Strange Situation Classification and (b) Van Ijzendoorn's cross-cultural research on attachment. Discuss and formulate answers to the following questions.
According to the SSC research, how do Japanese and German children differ from American?
In what way could the imposed etic that occurs when the SSC is used with non-US samples lead to misleading conclusions?
"The meaning of a behaviour can only be understood with reference to its cultural context". Explain this statement, referring to the cross-cultural SSC research.
We have seen how cultural bias can occur when a construct derived from one society is used inappropriately in another (imposed etic), when one's own culture is regarded as 'normal' and all others in some way 'deviant' (ethnocentrism) and when a belief in the superiority of one's own culture leads one to denigrate or regard as irrelevant the characteristics and traditions of other cultures (racism).
It is useful to understand ethnocentrism so that measures can be taken to try and avoid it. Some researchers have attempted to address the problem of cultural bias by extending their work from the West into other cultures. Approaches to try to avoid ethnocentrism and cultural bias include:
- Studying a range of different cultures to find out about the variability of human behaviour (cross- cultural psychology)
Studying a range of different cultures to find out about the universal features of human behaviour (sometimes called trans-cultural psychology).
Ethnographic studies, for example Malinowski conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and the Trobriand Islands, aiming to immerse himself in the culture to gain a complete understanding of it.
The methods are positive steps in actually studying other cultures rather than simply generalising from Western samples. However a significant problem with anthropology and ethnographic work is that the researcher may find it difficult to avoid interpreting behaviours from their own cultural perspective. In addition the researcher is unlikely to succeed completely in immersing him or herself in a different culture. Complete command of the subtleties of a new language, customs and traditions is extremely difficult to achieve (Brain, 2009)