scloa

14. Examine the role of two cultural dimensions on behaviour.

Cultural dimensions — Geert Hofstede

  1. Individualism-collectivism => Asch + Bond and Smith + Rime et al.
  2. Masculinity-femininity => Mead + Errington and Gewertz

Individualism-Collectivism
Describes cultures loosely structured to tightly integrated. Degree which action is beneficial to the group or individual.

Individualism: e.g. USA, Canada, UK (usually countries in colder climates) — Personal is emphasized more than social persons viewed as unique and self-expression is highly valued. Competitiveness and self-sufficiency are highly regarded.

Collectivism: e.g. China, Japan (usually countries with higher birthrates) — social is emphasized rather than individual, self defined as long relationships and obligations, self-expression is not encouraged, more emphasis on achieving group harmony than individual achievement, therefore conformity levels are higher compared to western countries.

However, since Japan’s birthrate decreased, the country in general became more individualistic. Halim and Chew — Singapore, Japan performance attribution changed, less modesty bias.

Masculinity-Femininity
Culture’s dominant values are either assertive or nurturing.

Masculinity: Aggressive, power-orientated, dominant
dominant partner in marriage, less close relationships and keep their emotions to themselves more.

Femininity: emphasis on interpersonal harmony, often weaker and more passive

Milgram

Who?

Milgam

When?

1963

Information found in:

Psychology class notes

Wikipedia

Aim:

To investigate the effect of situational and dispositional factors on behaviour.

Research Method:

Lab experiment

Participants:

40 men (volunteers)

Procedure:

The participant was introduced to the experimenter and another participant, who was actually a confederate. The true participant became the ‘teacher’ and the confederate was the 'learner’. The learner moved into a different room and wired up to a shock machine.

The teacher had to ask the learner questions. Each wrong answer got a shock, starting at 15 volts and increasing by 15 up to 600V. In reality the learner was a recorded voice. After 300V (fatal shock) the learner stops responding.

When asked before the experiment, experts said only 1% would reach 450V and they would be psychopaths.

Findings:

100% went up to 300V

65% went up to 450V

Throughout the experiment, participants displayed tension and stress. They were sweating, trembling, stuttering, biting their lips, groaning, digging their fingernails into their skin, and some were even having nervous laughing fits or seizures.

Conclusion:

Situational factors can influence behaviour. This was a very prestigious setting of Yale university and the experimenter had a lab coat which gave him authority as well as him accepting responsibility of the learner.

In one variation, in a run-down office block, obedience dropped significantly.

Evaluation:

:( Unethical -caused stress and distress in ppts

:) Useful for how situational and dispositional factors influence behaviour 

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the sociocultural level of analysis
  • Describe the role of situational and dispositional factors in explaining behaviour
Situational and dispositional factors in explaining behavior.

People generally explain behavior through situational or dispositional factors. Studies have found that we tend to attribute dispositional factors when explaining other people’s behavior but we understand our own behavior through situational explanations, which is known as the actor-observer effect. The overemphasis on dispositional factors (and underemphasis on situational ones) when explaining other people’s behavior is known as the fundamental attribution error

Michael Storms conducted a series of experiments in 1975 with the intention of examining the actor-observer effect. In Storms’ first experiment, his specific aim was to test this effect, which he did throgh a laboratory experimental method.

Storms created an artificial setting and allocated participants into two different roles; actors and observers. Four unacquainted research participants, two playing the role of observers and two playing the role of conversational actors arranged in a seating pattern so that Observer B was facing actor B and actor A was opposite to observer A, and the actors and observers sat side by side to each other. Two cameras filmed the responses of the actors separately. 

The two actors engaged in a five-minute conversation and the observers focused their attention on the actor they were facing. Both the actors and observers rated the actors’ behavior and were asked to indicate the degree to which the actors’ behavior was determined by their personal characteristics and/or by the situation. 

Storms found that the observers placed greater importance on the dispositional factors when explaining the actions of the actor they were watching whereas the actors emphasized situational factors when evaluating their own behavior. As hypothesized by Storms, the findings were consistent to the actor-observer effect. 

For his second experiment, Storms aimed to find out the effects of manipulating the salience (the attentional selection) after the event has transpired but prior to observers & actors making attributions Storms employed a laboratory method for this experiment as well. The experiment was essentially a replication of his first one, except videotapes were shown before attributions were made. Instead of experiencing what had happened live, participants watched the opposite visual perspective (Observer A = Actor B). Storms found that reversed-perspective viewers no longer exhibited the actor-observer effect. Actors made dispositional attributions, observers situational.
The experiment demonstrated the power of perceptual salience in the attribution process and that if we manipulate the attention of the actors to become self-aware; they place more importance on internal factors.

Another study related to attribution is Heider and Simmel’s study conducted in 1944 of attribution and geometric shapes. This study also used a laboratory experimental method. Participants were shown an animated cartoon of three geometric shapes (a large triangle, a small triangle and a circle) moving around and in and out of a square. They were asked to describe what they saw. Heider and Simmel found that the participants attributed the “behavior” of the shapes to dispositional factors, as if they had human intentions, although they were lifeless objects. Many participants explained the behavior of the shapes as if the two triangles were men fighting over a woman (symbolized by the circle). The large triangle was seen as an aggressive bully whereas the small triangle was seen as a modest hero. The circle was seen as shy. The findings indicate that there is a strong tendency to link behavior with personality and intentions, even when the behavior being observed is that of inanimate objects.

The tendency to overestimate dispositional factors and underestimate situational ones when explaining the behavior of others is knowns as the fundamental attribution error. This attribution error was studied by Ross et al. in 1977 through an experiment which replicated a game show setting. The method employed was laboratory. To conduct the study, participants were recruited and they signed consent forms. After this, the participants were assigned roles of a game show host, contestants, and audience members randomly. The participants were then ordered to role-play a game. The game was followed by the audience members ranking the intelligence of each actor (hosts and contestants). The study ended with the debriefing of each participants. 

Ross et al found that participants consistently ranked the host as the smartest, even when they knew the situation was staged. The participants underestimated situational factors and overestimated dispositional factors, as hypothesized by the researchers. This experiment supports the theory of the fundamental attribution error and can be related to the actor-observer effect as well. 

6. Discuss two errors in attributions.
  1. Types of error you can choose to discuss: Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE), Modesty Bias, Illusory Correlation.
    Do define what attribution is and what are situational and dispositional factors.
  2. FAE
    When people overestimate the role of dispositional factors in an individual’s behaviour and underestimate the situational factors.
    This error is so common because some psychologists argue that it is because people tend to think of themselves as adaptable, flexible and ever-changing human beings. They do not think of themselves as a ‘type’ of person.
    Experiment: Lee et al. Host show
    -ve points: 1. Students may view professors as high in authority and those who ask the questions are more ‘smarter’. 2. Students are not representatives of the greater population. (Not suitable sample population)
    Experiment: Jones and Harris -> Fidel Castro’s rule in Cuba Essays
    -ve point: (Contradiction) Miller found that Indian-Hindus took situational factors when explaining actions when someone did something wrong, juxtaposing how FAE applies to Americans. (Cultural differences… only emic - concerning one culture not all)

Keep reading

4. Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the sociocultural level of analysis
  1. State the 4 SCLOA principles
  2. List the ethical guidelines along with explanations (there are 6 in total)
    • Informed consent
    • Right to withdraw
    • Deception (minimal)
    • Debriefing
    • Confidentiality
    • Protection of participants (from mental and physical harm)
  3. Milgram’s study
    There was informed consent, participants were given the right to withdraw but were too pressured, there was deceit, but it’s good they were debriefed afterward, though there was no mental or physical protection. It was observed that many subjects were nervous and were sweating. 3 of the subjects had seizures and one of them was so bad they had to halt the experiment.
  4. Zimbardo’s prison experiment
    There was informed consent but it was not clear enough (like how prisoners were arrested unaware of what went on), there was no right to withdraw only until things got out of hand by day 6, there was deceit as they were covertly observed, debriefing took from months to years, there was no protection what so ever.
  5. Little Albert by Watson
    No informed consent, no right to withdraw, no protection at all since it gave little Albert the fear of seeing fluffy objects.
  6. Lee et al. (Host show)
    Most ethical of the 4 because it obeyed the guidlines.
3. Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the socialcultural level of analysis
  1. State the principles of the sociocultural level of analysis (try to relate experiments to the principles as much as possible!)
  2. State the research methods you will discuss: Interviews, case studies, experiment, technology, observation
  3. Experiments (usually they are the only ones applicable for SCLOA)

You should remember to include the:

  • Aim
  • Independent variables
  • Dependent variables
  • Controlled variables
  • Confounding variables
  • Data - qualitative or quantitative
  • Is it replicable?

Experiments you can mention:

  • Milgram
  • Zimbardo
  • Festigner et al.
  • Mead

    Milgram’s study (1963) - Study of obedience
    Aim: To investigate how far people will go in obey an authority figure based on how he wanted to prove the Germans were different from people that they were able to carry out barbaric acts against Jews and other minority people.

    Procedure:

    • Each participant was assigned with a confederate, and true participant believes confederate to be another participant
    • Participant and confederate were told that experiment was on human learning
    • They drew lots and it was made in such a way that the leaner would always be the confederate and the teacher, the participant
    • Participant was shown how the ‘learner’ was being strapped to an impressive-looking machine, the generator. Then he/she was given a test shock of 45 volts to convince them it was real.
    • Participant leaves confederate and enters a separate room where their task was to read out 4 key words and 4 possible pairs, while the confederate had to press the correct button.
    • Each incorrect answer, a 15 volt shock was applied and for every consecutive incorrect answer, 15 volts was increased by another 15 and so on up to 450 volts.
    • Milgram wanted to see how far would the participant go

    Independent variable - Experimenter’s prompts

    Dependent variable - How far would the subject go (or increase the voltage)

    Control: Situation and procedure is all the same for each subject. This allows a good cause and effect and is replicable.

    Results:

    • Levels of obedience expected… psychology students and professional colleagues had a mean of 1.2%
    • Level of obedience obtained: 65% continued to max 450 volts and no subjects stopped before 300 volts.
    • Subjects’ realisation of shock effects (How painful to the learner were the last few shocks), mean response was 13.42 out of 14.
    • Subjects were seen to sweat, tremble, stutter, bite lips, groan. There were nervous laughs but they clearly admitted it was not funny at all. There were actual uncontrollable seizures observed in 3 subjects. On one occasion they had to call a halt to the experiment.

    Evaluation:

    • procedure was well standardised and obedience was accurately operationalised as the amount of voltage given
    • It took part in Yale University, a prestigious university, laboratory looked realistic
    • There was good control and little variation in experience for each participant as up to 75 volts, confederate would only have grunts of discomfort. At 150 volts, the leaner would shout and say he did not want to continue. At 300, he would refuse to give answers.
    • The experimenter would also occasionally give prompts and say “You must continue” or “It is essential that you continue”.
    • It lacks ecological validity
    • Some ethical problems (subjects were decieved, physically hurt and mentally)
    • Subjects were only American and male

    Haney, Banks, Zimbardo (1973) - Conformity, SIT
    Experiment: A study of prisoners and guards in a simulated prison - page 46 Oxford Revision Book

    Aim: To demonstrate the situational rather than the dispositional causes of negative behaviour and throught patterns found in prison settings by conducting a prison stimulation with ‘normal’ subjects playing the roles of guard and prisoner.

    Method: Subjects - 22 male subjects selected (through personality assessment). Mostly Caucasian, middle class, college students
    Apparatus - Prison, basement corridor in Stanford University Psychology department, in each prisoner room included covert video and audiotape data recording. Uniforms - role of identification, guards given khaki shirts and trousers, batons and reflecting sunglasses while prisoners wore loose fitting smocks and ID numbers.

    Procedure:Observation through covert video and audiotape data recording. Prisoners were arrested by real police outside their houses by surprise under the norm procedures and the guards worked 8 hour shifts and were only given the instructions to ‘maintain a reasonable degree of order within the prison necessary for its effective functioning and a prohibition against the use of physical violence.

    Findings: Prisoners showed signs of depression, crying, fits of rage and acute anxiety. The experimenters proposed that these reactions were caused by a loss of personal identity, emasculation, dependency and learned helplessness due to the structures of the prison system.
    Guards showed ‘Pathology of Power’ - the huge enjoyment of the power at their disposal.

    Conclusion: They conformed to their roles or were into their roles too much due to the situation and not the dispositional factors (like their own personalities)
    Ethical: It was unethical as the participants were both mentally and physically hurt.

    Strengths:
    Did prove to be true in one case http://www.psychologistworld.com/influence_personality/stanfordprison.php
    This was about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse where under the authority of American armed forces, they treated prisoners very harshly. (This was during the aftermath of 2003 Iraq war)

    Weaknesses:

    • There is lack of ecological validity as simulation lacks ‘mundane realism’.
    • Ethical guidelines breached: Caused dramatic and disturbing results, such as physical and mental harm
    • Subjects were only debriefed months to years after the experiment
    • There was conformed consent but not enough information

    Leon Festinger et al. (1956) - When Prophecy Fails
    Most well known covert observation.
    In Chicago, there was a religious cult that believed the world would end on 21st December. They believed that when natural catastrophes began, they would be rescued by flying saucers as long as they followed the prescribed rituals and read the sacred texts. They were to remain isolated from all non-believers (making psychologists difficult to study them). Festinger and his team decided to become cult members to carry out a participant observation.
    They remained until that fateful day of 21st December and when nothing happened, Festinger monitored the group members’ doubt, debate and rationalization. The members of the cult, as part of maintaining their self-esteem, decided that God and not destroyed the world because of their prayers.
    Principle: People have a social self and identity. Therefore they have a desire to protect their self-esteem. This is demonstrated in this study as the cult had decided based on their prayers that they have saved the world.

    Mead (1935)
    Documented numerous instances of cultural variations in 3 different cultures in New Guinea.
    Arapesh people characterized by women and men having same sensitive and non-aggressive behaviour as well as feminine personalities
    Mundugamor = both men and women were ruthless, unpleasant, dominant and masculine
    Tchambuli community = women were more dominant and men were more emotional and concerned about personal appearance.
    Mead’s demonstration of cultural differences in many respects a valid indication of how society scan influence gender-role development.

    Criticisms/weaknesses

    • Reversal of western norms
    • Shows that culture affects stereotypes as well as behaviour affected by conformity to social norms
    • ‘Human nature is malleable’
    • Her methodology is unscientific
    • She was in her early 20s that time with little life experience
    • Could have affected her judgement of what she was observing and influenced the way in which she was regarded by the islanders whose culture values ages for its wisdom.
    • Prior to her research she already held a strong belieft of the environment playing a role in changing behaviour and was subjective
    • Errington and Gewertz (1989) revisited the Tchambuli and re-analysed Mead’s original material, they found women do not dominate men nor is the reverse true
    • Mead only spent 6 months in these communities and not a yearly cycle
    • Any other data would have been second hand
    • She is a woman unable to understand a male perspective

    Remember to evaluate your experiments!

    Give a conclusion to why these research methods are useful in the SCLOA.

    10. Discuss the use of compliance techniques

    Compliance: Direct pressure to respond to a request. 
Individuals influenced to comply with demands of others - Cialdini.

    Factors that influence the likelihood to comply:

    •                Reciprocity: Need to return a favour

    •                Commitment

    •                Liking

    •                Authority

    •                Scarcity

    Reciprocity: The hospitality of shop owners make one feel a bit guilty about walking out without buying anything. The reciprocity principle is where it is the social norm that we should treat others the way they treat us. The rule says a person must repay what another person has provided. This is a way of creating confidence among people that what is given to another is not lost but a sign of future obligation that enables development of various kinds of relationships and exchanges. 
Feelings of guilt plays a key role.
 Lynn and McCall (1998)

    Commitment: Being consistent with previous behaviour

    Cialdini argues that once people make a choice, they will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.

    Kurt Lewin (1951) argued that behaviour is motivated by goal gradients. 
The longer people commit to a goal, the less likely they will abandon it.

    COMPLIANCE TECHNIQUES:

    Door-in-the-face technique A request is made which will surely be turned down, then a second is made which asks less of someone and people are more likely to accept because they feel that the person has lowered the request in order to accommodate them. Click here for a study of Cialdini et al. (1975).

    Foot-in-the-door technique: getting people to make a commitment to something small, with the hope of persuading them to agree to something larger.


    Low balling technique: Two step technique - persuader agrees without knowledge of a hidden cost.

    Cialdini et al. (1974)

    *Extra technique to talk about.

    Hazing technique:
    This practice is quite controversial. It is a series of initiation rites in order to join an exclusive group E.g. sports team.
    This can be very dangerous as students have died while exposed to extreme temperatures, drinking themselves to a coma etc…

    Hazing is a form of initiation similar to many initiation rites seen in other cultures. 
Young’s 1963 study of 54 tribal cultures found those with the most dramatic and stringent ceremonies were those with the greatest group solidarity.
    Aronson and Mills (1959) carried out an experiment to see if someone who has had to endure trouble or pain to join a group will value it more highly than someone who was able to join the group with no effort. They asked female college students to join a sex discussion group. Some went through severely embarrassing initiation to join it while others joined with no initiation ceremony. When women were finally allowed to join, the confederates were trained to be as boring and uninteresting as possible. The women who went through the initiation ceremony reported that it was extremely valuable whereas those who did not have any initiation recognized called the meetings ‘worthless and uninteresting’.

    Gerard and Mathewson (1966)
    carried further research where women received electric shocks. Those who endured pain as part of their initiation were more likely to find their group interesting, intelligent and desirable.

    Summary:
    Factors that influence likelihood to comply: Authority, commitment, liking, reciprocity, scarcity and social proof.

    Techniques for compliance: door-in-the-face technique, foot-in-the-door technique, low-balling technique, hazing technique

    2. Explain how principles that define the sociocultural level of analysis may be demonstrated in research.

    Remember the 4 principles:

    1. Humans are social animals and have a need to belong
    2. Culture affects behaviour
    3. Humans are social animals and have a social self
    4. People’s views of the world are resistant to change

    Based on principle 1, research such as Asch’s paradigm in the 1950s can demonstrate this. The aim of this study was to test conformity under non-ambiguous circumstances. One participant and a group of confederates, whom the participant believes are participants like himself enter a room. They are told by a researcher that they are testing a “psychological experiment on visual judgement”. The group are told to select a line from a card that matches the length of the line on another card. The true participant is asked near the end of the group. The confederates each selected the same answers that was clearly the incorrect line, which pressured the participant to conform, or to hold the same ideals as the group to belong and not to be excluded. Around 75% of participants conformed with the confederates at least once and there was an average conformity rate of 32% and 24% never conformed. Due to the high percentage of conformity and the fact that some people experienced the pressure of conforming, this shows that there is a link between the principle that people do feel the need to belong.

    The principle that culture affects behaviour can be exhibited through Mead’s research in the 1930s. She had documented numerous instances of cultural variations in three different cultures in New Guinea, which are the Arapesh, Mundugamor and the Tchambuli. She found that Arapesh people characterized women and men having same sensitive and non-aggressive behaviour as well as feminine personalities. Mundugamor community was where both men and women were ruthless, dominant and masculine. Tchambuli community was where women were more dominant and men were more emotional. The research shows how different cultures result in different behaviours as they abide to their traditions.


    The third principle, that humans are social animals and have a social self. Tajfel’s social identity theory states that individuals strive to improve their self-image by trying to enhance their self-esteem based on personal or social identities. In one of his studies, he discovered that when people who do not know each other are randomly assigned in a group, they see themselves as being similar in attitude and behaviour. A bond is then formed in the group. Tajfel et al. in the 1970s observed boys who were randomly assigned into groups and asked to rate in-group and out-group traits. The ratings of in-group were higher compared to out-group. This shows that even though the boys had never met before, the sheer fact that they were part of the same group was enough to create a feeling of in-group and out-group behaviour because of the higher ratings.


    The last principle that people’s views on the world are resistant to change, which can be seen in Synder and Swann’s (1970s) experiment. Female college students were told that they would meet a person who was either an extrovert or an introvert. They were to prepare questions for the person they were going to meet. They found that those who thought they were to see introverts asked questions like “What do you dislike about parties?” and to extroverts “What do you do to liven up a party?”. They concluded that the questions asked confirmed the participants’ stereotypes of each personality.

    12. Discuss factors influencing conformity

    Factors influencing conformity (e.g. group thinking, minority influence, risky shift)

    Informative social influence: copying other people because we are unsure of ourselves or have doubts. Look at other people’s examples. Sometimes to obtain information, to conform. Understand what is right or wrong. Crutchfield

    Normative social influence:
    <definition> Wanting to fit in a group or to conform. It only changes your public behaviour but not what one personally thinks. To not seem like an outsider and also due to peer pressure.
    <Examples> Asch’s visual judgement experiment (1951)
    74% conformed, weaknesses are it is only of American culture, 1950s time period, lacks ecovalidity, only male, did not account for the minority who did not conform.
    Zimbardo’s prison simulation experiment (1971)
    Even when some guards disagreed with what the other guards treated the prisoners, they still conformed.
    <weaknesses> Does not apply to everything E.g. those who do not conform (the exceptions)
    <Strengths> Accounts for the majority of people

    Group think: When people in a group all have the same opinion and everyone does genuinely agree and internally in one’s mind there is not other explanation for it. E.g. Teachers are always right.
    <definition> Members of the group try to minimize conflicts and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluation ideas.
    <examples>
    Irving Janis studied some American Foreign policy disasters. The Bay of Pigs Fiasco (1961) when US administration sought to overthrow Cuban Government of Fidel Castro.
    Conclusions:
    - Decisions were made largely due to cohesive nature of committees which made them.
    - A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.
    <causes> Illusion or vulnerability and conformity/pressure to the group or authority figures.
    <When it occurs> Occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing and moral judgement.
    <8 symptoms>
    1. Illusion of invulnerability
    2. Collective rationalization
    3. Belief in inherent morality
    4. Stereotyped views of out-groups
    5. Direct pressure on dissenters
    6. Self-censorship
    Illusion of unanimity
    Self-appointed mindguards.

    Unanimity: When everyone agrees to a given situation. Higher the unanimity, the more likely one is to conform. If it is not unanimous then there would be people less likely to conform. Unanimity is important in court cases.

    <definition> The complete agreement by all people in a given situation.
    <Studies>
    Asch — everyone agrees to a situation, the more people will conform
    Bond and Smith
    <Strengths>
    - Can be used in real life E.g. court, juries
    - Jury rule for conviction in some legal systems is a unanimity rule
    - Unanimity rule gives each and every voter a vote over the outcome
    - If any voters have corrupt motives, they may have to be laid off.
    <weaknesses>
    Stress from trying to fit in and follow other people

    Minority influence: How one small idea could transform into a huge influence. Minority can influence majority.
    Moscovici and Lage

    note: I often just skip ‘group think’ since it’s one of the factors I least understand.