Sociocultural Perspective

Topics: Social psychology, Sociology, Social identity Pages: 31 (7913 words) Published: November 26, 2014
Bennett IB Psychology

SOCIOCULTURAL LEVEL OF ANALYSIS REVIEW

_SOCIOCULTURAL COGNITION_

PRINCIPLES OF THE SOCIOCULTURAL LEVEL OF ANALYSIS

HUMAN BEINGS ARE SOCIAL ANIMALS AND WE HAVE A BASIC NEED TO "BELONG."

The biological and cognitive systems that makeup the individual are embedded in an even larger system of interrelationships with other individuals.

The relationship between the individual is affected by being part of a group is BIDIRECTIONAL: as an individual is affected by being part of a group, the individual can also effect behavior in the group.

CULTURE INFLUENCES BEHAVIOR.

CULTURE can be defined as the norms and values that define a society.

In a multicultural society there is a need to understand the effect of culture on a person's behavior, because the study of culture may help people better understand and appreciate cultural differences.

HUMANS ARE SOCIAL ANIMALS, THEY HAVE A SOCIAL SELF.

People not only have an individual identity, but also a collective or social one as well.

Social identities are very important to the definition of who we are, and many behaviors are determined by membership of groups such as family, community, club, or nationality.

PEOPLE'S VIEWS OF THE WORLD ARE RESISTANT TO CHANGE.

A world view can be defined as the way the world is understood: how it is supposed to work, why it works the way it does, and what values are essential in the world community.

According to psychologists the sense of self is developed within social and cultural contexts.

RESEARCH METHODS AT THE SOCIOCULTURAL LEVEL OF ANALYSIS

In sociocultural research, the goal is to see how people interact with each other.

Behavior of participants needs to be as realistic as possible.

A significant amount of the research is naturalistic- "as it really is."

Research is done in the environments in which the behavior is most likely to take place.

Participant observation - researchers immerses themselves in a social setting for an extended period of time and observe behavior.

Overt observation: when the participants of a group know that they are being observed. Researcher must obtain trust of the group being observed.

Covert observation: when the participants of a group do NOT know they are being observed. Sometimes used with groups that would be hostile to an outsider observing or would not want to be open and honest, or the activity is illegal (e.g. drug use).

Interviews

Focus groups

_WHEN PROPHECY FAILS LEON_ FESTINGER ET AL.'S (1956)

_WHEN PROPHECY FAILS_ is a 1956 classic book in social psychology by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter about a UFO cult that believes the end of the world is at hand. Festinger and his associates read an interesting item in their local newspaper headlined "Prophecy from planet Clarion call to city: flee that flood." A housewife from Chicago, named Dorothy Martin, had mysteriously been given messages in her house in the form of "automatic writing" from alien beings on the planet Clarion.

These messages revealed that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954. Martin's cult incorporated ideas from what was to become Scientology. The group of believers, headed by Martin, had taken strong behavioral steps to indicate their degree of commitment to the belief. They had left jobs, college, and spouses, and had given away money and possessions to prepare for their departure on the flying saucer, which was to rescue the group of true believers. Festinger and his colleagues infiltrated Martin's group and reported the following sequence of events: Prior to December 20. The group shuns publicity. Interviews are given only grudgingly. Access to Martin's house is only provided to those who can convince the group that they are true believers. The group evolves a belief system-provided by the automatic writing from the planet Clarion-to explain the details of the cataclysm, the reason for...
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