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Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition
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Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Sociocultural Cognition

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Notes from chapter 4.1 in my IB HL Psychology textbook! All about the Sociocultural Level of Analysis, culture, attribution, norms, stereotypes, and whatnot.

Notes from chapter 4.1 in my IB HL Psychology textbook! All about the Sociocultural Level of Analysis, culture, attribution, norms, stereotypes, and whatnot.

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  • 1. Sociocultural Level of Analysis Sociocultural Cognition
  • 2. Principles of the SCLA 1. Human beings are social animals and we have a basic need to “belong” – As the individual is affected by being part of a group, the individual can also effect behavior in the group 1. Culture influences behavior – Culture: norms and values that define a society – Study of culture may help us to better understand and appreciate cultural differences
  • 3. Principles of the SCLA 3. Because humans are social animals, they have a social self – People do not only have an individual identity, but also a collective or social identity • i.e. When JFK died, all Americans mourned like he was a family member – Important to the definition of who we are and are determined by groups such as family, community, club, or nationality 4. People’s views of the world are resistant to change – World view: the way the world is understood; how it is supposed to work, why it works the way it does, what values are essential
  • 4. Impact of Culture • Helps to shape our world view • Instills values which are passed down from generation to generation • The sense of self is developed within social and cultural concepts
  • 5. Research Methods at the SCLA • The GOAL is to see how people interact with each other • The majority of research today is more qualitative than quantitative • Important that studies are as realistic as possible with high ecological validity – Research is naturalistic (“as it really is”) • Use participant observation, interviews, focus groups, etc – Descriptive data can’t be used for explaining cause and effect relationships 
  • 6. Participant Observation • How SCLA psychologists try to “see the world through the eyes of the people being studied” • When researchers immerse themselves in a social setting for an extended period of time and observe behavior • Overt observation: When participants know they are being observed • Covert observation: When participants don’t know they are being observed
  • 7. Participant Observation • Overt operations require the researcher to gain the trust of the group • Covert operations are sometimes used with groups that would be hostile to an outsider observing their behavior, or who would not be open/honest because of the illegality of their actions – Deceitful with undisclosed intentions – No obtained informed consent – Difficult to take notes; data can be distorted by memory – Interviews cannot be carried out
  • 8. Attribution Theory • Attribution: How people interpret and explain causal relationships in the social world • Humans have a need to understand why things happen – i.e. looking for reasons as to why someone would be late for a date • People may have different ways of attributing causes to events – Evans-Pritchard and the Azande: doorway eaten by termites collapsed and killed several people; they blamed it on witchcraft
  • 9. Attribution Theory • Originates from Fritz Heider’s The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations • When people try to understand behavior they are acting as naïve psychologists • People make inferences about intention and responsibility from observing other people’s actions
  • 10. Attribution Theory • Actor-observer effect: People make different attributions depending on whether they are performing it or observing it • When people discuss their own behaviors, they tend to attribute it to situational factors – Situational factor: something to do with external factors; caused by environment or circumstance • When observing another’s behavior, they tend to attribute it to dispositional factors – Dispositional factor: Something to do with personal (internal) factors
  • 11. Errors in Attributions • People are more likely to explain another person’s actions by pointing to dispositional factors, rather than to the situation • Fundamental attribution error: When people overestimate the role of dispositional factors in an individuals behavior – They underestimate situational factors! – As people gather information by observing others, this often leads to illogical conclusions – i.e. an actor who plays kind and loving roles will be seen as kind and loving • Folks attribute these characteristics to his personality (dispositional) rather than his job as an actor (situational)
  • 12. Fundamental Attribution Error • Common because people tend to think of themselves as adaptable, flexible, and changing – Do not like to think of themselves as a “Type” • Don’t have adequate information on others to make a balanced decision, so they attribute behavior to disposition • Placing the blame on the individual is common in western culture – People are held responsible for their actions
  • 13. Self-Serving Bias (SSB) • When people take credit for their successes – Attributing them to dispositional factors • Dissociate themselves from their failures – Attributing them to situational factors • Lau and Russel (1980) – Football teams’ wins caused by internal factors (i.e. being in good shape, practice) – Football teams’ losses caused by external factors (i.e. weather, injuries, fouls)
  • 14. Self-Serving Bias (SSB) • We use SSB to protect our self esteem • If we expect to succeed and do, we attribute it to skill and ability • If we expect to succeed and do not, we attribute it to bad luck or external factors • A means of self-protection
  • 15. Miller and Ross (1975) • We usually expect to succeed at a task • If we expect not to do so well and do not, we attribute it to dispositional factors • If we expect to fail and succeed instead, we attribute it to external factors (and luck!) • People who are severely depressed tend to make more dispositional attributions (blaming themselves) for feeling miserable
  • 16. Cultural Differences in SSB • Kashima and Triandis (1986) – Significant differences between Japanese and American students – Americans tended to attribute their success to ability – Japanese tended to explain their failures in terms of their lack of ability • This is modesty bias! • Because of the more collective nature of many Asian societies (draw self-esteem from group identity)
  • 17. Social Identity Theory • Assumes that individuals strive to improve their self-image by trying to enhance their self-esteem – Based on either personal identity or various social identities • Boost their self-esteem through personal achievement/affiliation in groups • Indicates the importance of social belonging
  • 18. Social Categorization • Explains social phenomena such as: – Ethnocentrism – in-group favoritism – stereotyping – conformity to in-group norms • Social identification may cause these behaviors because social categorization can create competitive behavior
  • 19. Groups • In-group: An individual’s group (“us”) • Out-group: All others (“them”) • Exhibit in-group favoritism and discrimination against the out-group • Individual maintains self-esteem by social comparison – The benefits of belonging to the in-group versus the out-group – Outcome of these comparisons influence self- esteem
  • 20. Tajfel in the 1970s • Readily identifying with positive groups = the establishment of positive distinctiveness • Bond is formed between group members even when randomly assigned – Even without knowing each other previously – See themselves as similar in attitude and behavior • Willing to give higher awards to in-groups • Out-group rated as less likeable (but was never actually disliked) – W/o competeition, social comparison alone doesn’t produce negative outcomes
  • 21. Social Identity Theory • Limitations: – Describes but does not predict human behavior – The theory on its own is reductionist • Fails to address the environment that interacts with the individual’s “self” • i.e. cultural expectations, rewards as motivators, societal constraints (like poverty)
  • 22. Social Representations • Creator: Moscovici (1973) • Definition: Shared beliefs and explanations held by the society in which we live or the group to which we belong • Social representations are the foundation of social cognition – They help us make sense of our world and master it – Also allow communication to take place between members of a community • They are cultural schemas that are fundamental to the identity of the group – Provide common understanding for communication
  • 23. Adler (1990) • Asked Russian mothers and American mothers to describe “what it means for her child to share something” • Russian mother said: children playing together with a toy at the same time • American mother said: her children take turns playing with the same toy
  • 24. Stereotyping • Stereotype: A social perception of an individual in terms of group membership or physical attributes • A generalization that is made about a group and then attributed to members of that group – May be either positive or negative • Form of social categorization that affects the behavior of those who use the stereotype and those who are labeled by the stereotype • A result of schema processing
  • 25. Stereotype Threat • Occurs in situations where there is a threat of being judged or treated stereotypically • Fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype
  • 26. Steele and Aronson (1995) • Aim: See the effect of stereotype threat on performance • Procedure: 30 minute verbal test described as either: – “genuine test of their verbal abilities” – “laboratory task that was used to study how certain problems are generally solved” • First test  African Americans scored significantly lower than European Americans • Second test  African Americans scored higher than those in the first test; same as European Americans • Conclusion: Stereotype threat can affect the members of almost any group if they believe in the stereotype (can then harm the performance)
  • 27. Spotlight Anxiety • Stereotype threat turns into spotlight anxiety • Causes emotional distress and pressure that may undermine performance • Students under stereotype threat often underperform – This can naturally limit their educational prospects – i.e. Stereotype that men > than women at mathematics observed by Spencer et al. (1977)
  • 28. Formation of Stereotypes • Tajfel argues it is a natural cognitive process of social categorization • Cambell (1967) sees two key sources of stereotypes: – Personal experiences with individuals and groups – Gatekeepers: The media, parents, other members of our culture • Stereotypes have some basis on some reality – Grain of truth hypothesis: an experience with an individual from a group will be generalized to the group
  • 29. Illusory Correlation • Hamilton and Gifford (1976) argue that stereotypes are the result of an illusory correlation – People see a relationship between two variables even when there isn’t one – False associations/overestimation • Example of cognitive bias – A person’s tendency to make errors in judgment based on cognitive factors • Confirmation bias supports these illusory correlations – People overlook information that contradicts the belief, but pay attention to the information that supports it
  • 30. Stereotype Thinking • Confirmation bias makes stereotypical thinking resistant to change • Stereotypes can also be formed as a means of taking on the in-group’s social representation of the outgroup – Individuals may conform to the group norms with regard to the “other”
  • 31. Social Desirability Effect • Confounding variable in research • Do people just pretend they don’t have stereotypes for experiment to seem “politically correct”? • Researchers today are moving away from self-report methods and looking for other ways to remove the threat

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