Psychological Level of Analysis

  1. Principles that define the cultural level of analysis
    - Human beings are social animals and we have a basic need to belong. (the biological and cognitive systems that make up individual are embedded by an even larger system of interrelationship)

    - Culture influences behaviour (the norm and values that define a society should be studied because it may help us understand and appreciate cultural differences)

    - Humans are social animals, they have a social self and a need to belong. (collective or social identity)

    - People's views of the world are resistant to change
  2. Research methods at the Sociocultural level of analysis
    Majority of research are qualitative. it is important that the behavior of the participants is as realistic as possible, to avoid studies that lack ecological validity.

    • - early SC psychologists -> lab experiment (more scientific)
    • - modern SC psychologists -> participant observation, interviews, and focus group. however a descriptive cause and effect cannot be developed
  3. Participant observation study method
    Researchers go in a social setting for an extended amount of time and observe behaviour.

    Overt observation -> group know that they are being observed

    Covert observation -> group doesnt know that they are being observed
  4. Overt Observation
    • Group knows that they are being observed
    • - requires the gain of trust of the group
  5. Covert Observations
    Participants unaware that they are being observed.

    • - used in groups where participants would be hostile to an outsider observing their behaviour.
    • - gain trust through deceit
    • - Ethical issues, and difficult to take notes and often have to rely on memory
  6. Attribution Theory
    How people interpret and explain causal relationships in the social world

    Heider (1958) People attribute causal relationships depending on whether they are performing or observing a task, this is known as actor-observer effect.

    Situational factors - when people discuss their own behavious, they are more likely to attribute it to external factors

    Dispositional factors - When people observe someone else performing a behaviour, they tend to base it on internal factors
  7. Situational factors + Dispositional factors
    Situational factors - when people discuss their own behavious, they are more likely to attribute it to external factors

    Dispositional factors - When people observe someone else performing a behaviour, they tend to base it on internal factors

    (Attribution theory)
  8. Errors in Attributions
    • - Fundamental Attribution Error - Since people gather information by observing others, this often leads to illogical correlation.
    • - this error is common because people tend to think of themselves as adaptable, flexible, and ever changing homan beings, however, when they dont have enough information about them to make a balanced decision, they attribute behaviour to disposition.

    Lee et al (1977)

    - Self serving bias - People attribute success to dispositional factors and dissociates from failure, attributing to external factors.

    Lau and Russel (1980) - Football coach wins and losses

    Greenberg (1982)
    - self serving bias protects self esteem

    Miller and Ross (1975) - Cognitive factors play a role in self serving bias

    - Exception - Depressed people tend to make more dispositional attributions thus blaming themselves for feeling miserable

    - cultural factors

    • Kashima (1986) - Cultural difference in attribution from US and Japanese students
  9. Lee et al (1977)
    Fundamental attribution error

    Aim - see if students would make fundamental attribution error even when they knew that all the actors were simply playing a role

    Method - Randomly assign participants to 3 roles, game showhost, contestant, and members of the audience

    Result - When asked to rank the level of intelligence, game show host was rated as smarter, participants failed to attribute to the person's situation, where in fact he was given the questions and answers.

    Limitation - Made use of student participants, who are used to listening to professors, therefore it can be questioned if the results can be generalized.
  10. Lau and Russel (1980)
    Self Serving Bias

    American football coach, attributes success to dispositional factors (e.g.form or good shape and hardwork.) however when loses attributes to external factors (e.g. inguries, weather, fouls)
  11. Greenberg (1982)
    Reason for Self Serving Bias

    • We commit self serving bias to protect self esteem. If attribute success to dispositional factors, it boosts self esteem.
    • If we attribute failures to factors beyond our control, it protects self esteem.
  12. Miller and Ross (1975)
    Cognitive factors play a role in Self Serving Bias

    • - If we expect to succeed and we do, it is attributed dispositionally (skill)
    • - If we expect to succeed and we don't, it is attributed to situation (bad luck)
    • - If we expect not to do well, and we dont, then we attribute to dispositional (lack of skill)
    • - if we expect to fail but we succeed, it is attributed to external factors (luck)
  13. Kashima (1986)
    Cultural difference in attribution from US and Jap students

    • American - attribute success to ability
    • Japanese - Explain failures to ability (modesty bias)
  14. Social Identity Theory
    Individuals strive to improve their self image by trying to enhance their self esteem, based on either personal identity or various social identities. This means people can boost their self esteem through personal achievement or through affiliation with successful groups.

    • Tajfel (1978)
    • - In group favoratism. when people are assigned to groups, automatically think of that group as the in group and others as out group.
    • - They will exhibit in group favoratism and pattern of discrimination to out group.
    • - Self esteem is maintained by social comparison (benefits of in vs out group)

    Cialdini (1976) - football match win -> jerseys

    Tajfel (1971) - Boys assigned to groups
  15. Cialdini (1976)
    After a successful football match, more supporters will wear jersey than after defeat. People are more positive towards anything the group represents
  16. Tajfel (1971)
    Boys randomly assigned to a group, more likely to identify preference for art from in group. when asked to vote likeability, out group was voted as less likeable.

    strength - good way of understanding human behaviour

    • weakness - describes but not predict behaviour
    • - reductionist - fails to address environmental impact
  17. Stereotypes
    • Defined as a social perception of an individual in terms of group membership or phyisical attribution. positive or negative. (eg. women are talented speakers vs. women are bad drivers)
    • Effects behaviour

    Threats and effects - Threat occurs when one is in a situation where there is a threat of being judged or treated stereotypically, or a fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype.

    Steele and Aronson (1995) - african american testing

    Spencer (1997) - women testing

    • Formation of Stereotypes -
    • Campbell (1967) - 2 key sources

    Hamilton and Gifford (1976) - result of illusory correlation

    Snyder (1978) - Confirmation Bias

    • Limitation - Social desirability effect.
    • - people do things that will be viewed favorably by others. over reporting good behaviour or underreporting bad behaviour
  18. Steele and Aronson (1995)
    Effect of stereotype threat on performance, test with black and white people.

    • - when told it is a genuine test of their verbal ability, black people scored less
    • - when told it is a study to show how problems are solved, black people performed the same.

    this shows that stereotype threat can affect the members of any social or cultural group in performance
  19. Spencer (1997)
    Effect of stereotype on intellectual performance.

    Gave a difficult math test on a group of students that were all equally qualified.

    found that women underperformed.

    however when tested on literature skill, scored the same
  20. Campbell (1967)
    • 2 key sources of stereotypes.
    • - personal experience
    • - Gatekeepers - media, parents and members of culture.

    - grain of truth hypothesis - experience with individual will be generalised to group.

    critisized by error in attribution
  21. Hamilton and Gifford (1976)
    Stereotype is a result of illusory correlation

    • - people see a relationship when there is none
    • - when illusory correlations are made, people tend to seek out of remember information that supports this relationship (confirmation bias).
  22. Snyder (1978)
    Confirmation bias - study on female college students.

    - told they would meet a person who was either extroverted or introverted.

    - in general, participants came up with questions that confirmed their perception of introverts and extroverts

    - concluded that the questions asked confirmed participants stereotypes of each personality type.
  23. Social Learning Theory
    Humans learn behaviour through observing and imitating

    • 4 factors:
    • - Attention - person must pay attention to model
    • - retention - remember
    • - reproduction - able to replicate
    • - motivation - must want to do

    Bandura et al (1961) - children aggression

    Eron (1986) - violent TV

    Evaluation of SLT

    • Strengths
    • - Helps us understand why behaviours may be passed down in family or culture
    • - explains why children can acquire some behaviours without trial and error learning

    • Limitations
    • - child might learn something from watching a model but may not exhibit behavior for a long time
    • - it is difficult to establish 100% that the behaviour is a result of the model
  24. Bandura et al (1961)
    Social Learning Theory

    Aim - wished to see if shildren would imitate aggression modelled by adults

    Method - expose all to different adult behaviours

    • Results - children who had observed the aggressive model were significantly more aggressive
    • - girls more verbally aggressive and guys more physical

    • Limitations
    • - Low ecological validity
    • - only brief encounter with model, and children are intentionally frustrated, therefore, does little to predict what happens if children were repeatedly exposed to aggression.
    • - Children may have acted aggressively cause they thought it would please the researcher.
    • - ethics (is it appropriate to teach aggression)
  25. Eron (1986)
    Social Learning Theory

    • Carried out a longitudinal study, monitoring children's aggression over 15 years
    • - found positive correlation between number of hours of violence watched on tv and level of aggression.
  26. Compliance
    Defined as the result of direct pressure to respond to a request.

    Reciprocity - social norm that we should treat others the way we treat us, therefore a person must repay what another has provided.

    (when customers are given a mint or sweet with bill, the tip size increases)

    Door in face Technique - Offers something that they know will be turned down, The second request is then made which asks less of someone. People are more likely to accept second offer because they feel that the person has already lowered the request for them.

    • Cialdini et al (1975) zoo volunteer/councelor
    • Commitment
    • Psychologist argues that once people make a choice or take a stand, they will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.

    Foot in door technique - getting someone to commit to something small, with the hope of persuading them to agree to something larger

    Dickerson et al (1992) - shower times

  27. Cialdini et al (1975)
    Door in face technique

    • Control - asked uni students if they would be willing to work as volunteers at the zoo for a day. - 83% refused
    • - asked if they would be willing to work 2 hours a week as a counsellor for 2 years - 100% refused

    Independant - Asked to be counsellors first, then asked to be a volunteer for a day - only 50% refused
  28. Dickerson et al (1992)
    Foot in door technique

    aim - wanted to see if they could get uni students to conserve water in dorm showers.

    method - asked people to sign a poster "take shorter showers" and then asked them to fill out a survey designed to make them think about their own water wastage. The shower times were then monitored.

    Results - lowered average shower time by about 3.5 mins.

    Limitation - Maybe they signed because they already have a committment to the cuase
  29. Conformity
    The tendency to adjust one's thoughts, feelings, or behaviour in ways that are in agreement with those of a perticular individual or group, or with accepted standards about how a person should behave in a specific cituation.

    Asch (1951) - line test

    Moscovici (1976) - color test

    • Factors Influencing conformity
    • - Group Size - low numbers of confederates, decrease conformity rate.
    • - Unanimity - conformity more likely when all confederates agreed
    • - Confidence - when individuals feel they are more competent to make a decision with regard to field of expertise, they are less likely to conform
    • - Self esteem - higher self esteen were less likely to conform

    • Cultural aspects on conformity
    • Berry (1967) - Asch's conformity in different countrties
  30. Asch (1951)

    Aim - find out to what extent a person would conform to an incorrect answer on a test.

    method - Participants enter a room consisting of confederates which helped the researcher to deceive the participants. participant was asked to select the line from the second card that was the length of the first card.

    Goal - see if participants woudl conform to the wrong answer even when very clear that the confederates answer was incorrect

    • Results - 75% conform for at least 1 trial
    • 32% conform for half or more trials
    • 24% didnt conform

    Conclusion - participants reported experiencing some level of self doubt - this is humans basic need to belong.

    • Limitations
    • - critical and ecological validity - test and strangers
    • - Cultural differences - only one culture studied
    • - Ethical considerations - participants were deceived and felt anxiety
  31. Moscovici (1976)

    Same as Aschs' line but with color

    Few participants and 2 confederates. asked to determine whether a blue-green screen was blue or green.

    to see if minority could influence majority.

    found that 32% changed to green even after the confederates had left.
  32. Berry (1967)

    Tested different cultures on Aschs paradigm.

    results - found that the people of Sierra Leone conformed more than canadians due to the economical differences because it is a tighter community who rely on each other for crops.
  33. Factors Influencing conformity
    Group Size - low numbers of confederates, decrease conformity rate.

    Unanimity - conformity more likely when all confederates agreed-

    • Confidence - when individuals feel they are more competent to make a
    • decision with regard to field of expertise, they are less likely to
    • conform

    Self esteem - higher self esteen were less likely to conform
  34. Cultural dimensions of behavior
    • - Individualism vs collectivism.
    • In individualistic societies, ties between individuals are loose. everyone looks after themselves and their families.
    • In collectivist societies, people are in groups from birth, like extended families that provide them with support and protection.

    • - Long term orientation vs short term orientation
    • long term orientation - asian cultures focus on virtue
    • Short term orientation - steadiness and stability - focus on future
  35. Emic and etic concepts
    • Etic:
    • - similarities between cultures
    • - brings outside perspective
    • - considers behaviour patterns invariant and universal
    • - eg. female circumcision seen as a barbaric practice that traumatises women

    • Emic
    • - Emphasizes differences
    • - considers behaviours unique to culture
    • - seeks a native perspective
    • - eg. female circumcision seen as a traditional practice which promotes chastity.
Card Set
Psychological Level of Analysis
Psychological level of analysis