Cultural Bias Essay

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Discuss the view that research practices in psychology are culturally bias. (30)

Cultural bias occurs if psychological research when the psychologist uses participants from only one culture and then generalises it to others, without validation. There are two main types of cultures which psychologist have studied, these are individualist and collectivist. Individualistic culture emphasises the importance of an individual whereas collectivist cultures (who are more specifically eastern societies) emphasise the importance of the group. However this can be criticized as being to over simplistic and ignoring individual and cultural differences. Ethnocentrism is the use of our own ethnic/cultural group as the basis for judgement about other groups. Eurocentrism is when Psychologists place emphasis on European theories/ideas at the expense of those of other cultures. They assume that Western concepts are superior to those of others, so as a result Western research is applied to other cultures, and is seen as a universal view of human behaviour.

On of the ways that bias can occur is when emics and etics get mistaken for eachother. Etic is where views from one culture are considered to be universal. One example of this is the study of moral development by Kohlberg. Kohlberg theory is seen as a universal description of human behaviour, members of different cultures all go through the same stages in the same order. However Kohlberg description of the six stages can be seen as ideologically bias towards Western cultures. Emic is where there are specific views that vary from culture to culture. These tend to have been ignored due to the increase of etic. An example of this is a study showing Emic was Cole's (1970) study of research into intelligence which investigated how objects were sorted into groups. Western sorted by category. African sorted by usefulness which suggests intelligence is different in various cultures.

A cross-cultural study is a kind of natural...
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