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The Sociocultural Level of Analysis 4.1 Sociocultural Cognition Principles 1. Human beings are social animals and we have a basic need to belong 2. Culture influences behaviour 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 one 4. People’s views of the world are resistant to change CULTURE • Culture can be defined as the norms and values that define a society Be Reflective 1. Brainstorm a list of the groups to which you belong. 2. How important are these groups in your personal identity? 3. What needs do these different groups fill in your life? Research Methods • • • • • • More qualitative Naturalistic Participant observation Descriptive data Overt observation Covert observation *handouts Participant Observation • Overt Observation: example – O´Reilly 2000 studied British expatriates on the Costa del Sol • Ethical considerations Covert • Covert: Example – Leon Festinger et al’s When Prophecy Fails 1956 in Chicago – a religious cult • Ethical considerations Attribution Theory • Attribution is defined as how people interpret and explain causal relationships in the social world • Humans have a need to understand why things happen Example: 1. Explain why to this scenario: You are sitting in an restaurant, waiting for your date to show up. He or she is late. What is your explanation to why he or she is late? 2. You received a high grade on a test. What is your explanation to the high grade? Attribution Theory • Who (or what) is responsible? For poverty? For unemployment? For alcoholism? For my math grade? • whether we help and how we help – “Who is responsible for the problem?” – “Who is responsible for the solution?” Attribution Theory • By Heider 1958, based on the assumption that people want to try to explain observable behaviour (like a scientist). • Dispositional or situational factors • People have a need for it and tend to look for causes and reasons (motives) to construct our own causal relationships • Want to be able to understand, predict and control the environment Attribution Theory • Cultures construct their own causal explanations, for example the origin and meaning of life • Sometimes people apply motives and dispositions to objects or choose to believe in fate or witchcraft • Example: Evan-Pritchard 1976, Azane people in central Africa belived it was witchcraft that killed several people when a doorway collapsed when the door had been eaten through by termites. The Actor-observer effect When people discuss their own behaviour, they tend to do attribute it to situational factors (external) “bad luck” “had a cold” The tendency to think: "If others make mistakes, it's their fault. If I do it, it's not my fault. It's due to the situation I'm in." When people observe someone else’s behaviour, they are more likely to attribute it to dispositional factors (internal) “he is so nice” “she is so smart” Errors in Attributions – illogical conclusions The Fundamental attribution error • Is when people overestimate the role of dispositional factors in an individual’s behaviour, and underestimate the situational factors • “she helped me – so she must be nice” • “what an idiot, he didn’t say hello today” • Example: Read Lee Ross et al. 1977 , p. 105 Evaluation Strengths: • has helped us to understand how people make common errors when they try to explain what happens in the world • Supported by many studies Limitations: • culturally biased (why do you think?) • Lab and sampling bias (explain why) Errors in attribution • Self-Serving bias (SSB) The tendency to make personal attributions for successes and situational attributions for failure For example: a good grade – I am so smart! A low grade – bad teacher/ been sick/ wrong questions… Example: Read Lau & Russel’s (1980) study about American football coaches and players Why do we do this? (Greenberg et al. 1982) Strength of bias depends on… • If one is depressed – the thinking pattern changes • Which culture one is from, for example: Modesty bias – cultural differences in SSB US and Japanese students, Kashima and Triandis 1986 asked to remember details from slides from unfamiliar countries and then asked to explain their performance. Why do you think that is? Attitudes Do our attitudes influence our actions? – More so when we are more self-conscious Do actions influence our attitudes? Cognitive dissonance (Festinger)– when attitudes and behavior contradict each other … what changes? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=korGK0yGIDo Biases in Judgment Implicit Personality Theory – People assume that certain aspects or traits go together • Halo effect: We assume people we like have good characteristics, even if we haven’t seen them, or perceive more characteristics as positive as well without knowing • An example would be judging a good-looking person as more intelligent. (see video on attraction on the blog, job interviews) Self-concept bias Primacy effects – What we consider important in ourselves is often what we consider important in others – People are influenced more by info they receive early in an interaction than by info that appears later – We will even re-interpret new information so that it fits our earlier impression of people Activity • Would you like to do some role-playing? 1. The fundamental attribution 2. Self-serving bias 3. Cognitive dissonance Social Identity Theory Social Identity Theory • Henry Tajfel developed this theory • Which assumes that individuals strive to improve their self-image by trying to enhance their selfesteem based on either personal identity or various social identities • In other words, We also enhance the sense of identity by making comparisons with out-groups. • Social identity is different from personal identity, which is derived from personal characteristics and individual relationships. Social Identity Theory • Example: When abroad, especially in countries which have particularly different languages and cultures, we feel our nationality far more keenly than when we are at home. We will tend to band together in national groups, perhaps making comments about the strangeness of the natives. • Recognize yourself? Social identity Theory • Based on Social categorization • In-group (us) – out-group (them) and by social comparison one maintain one’s self-esteem • This is done automatically, as soon as we consider us being part of a group, even when it is by chance/casually assigned. Is there one between DP1 and DP2? Other classes? Evaluation • absence of competition – not necessarily a negative outcome • Describes • Does not predict • In Some cases our personal identity is stronger • Fails to address the environment Social Representations – foundation of social cognition • The shared beliefs and explanations held by the society in which we live or the group to which we belong (Moscovici 1973) • “cultural schemas” - Provide a common understanding for communication within the group Stereotypes & Prejudice • Write down the first thing that comes to your mind when I say the following…and be honest. • WE ALL have stereotypes! • • • • • • • • • • • • Swedes IB student IV student Malmö Doctor Blond girl Men teachers Scientist Women Americans Chinese Stereotypes • Is defined as social perception of an individual in terms of group membership or physical attributes. It is a generalization that is made about a group and then attributed to members of that group. • Can be either positive or negative. Implicit Association Test (Harvard) • Online test that tests your attitudes (implicitly) • The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. • The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. • For example, you may believe that women and men should be equally associated with science, but your automatic associations could show that you (like many others) associate men with science more than you associate women with science What are implicit and explicit stereotypes? • Stereotypes are the belief that most members of a group have some characteristic. • Some examples of stereotypes are the belief that women are nurturing or the belief that police officers like donuts. • An explicit stereotype is the kind that you deliberately think about and report. • An implicit stereotype is one that occurs outside of conscious awareness and control. • Even if you say that men and women are equally good at math, it is possible that you associate math with men without knowing it. In this case we would say that you have an implicit math-men stereotype. Task • After completing one IAT, answer the questions on the handout in writing (on the blog) • Your answers may be short – the importance is that you reflect upon implicit stereotypes and the potential consequences they may have on people’s behaviour (including you) Formation of stereotypes (how do we get them?) • Stereotyping is form of social categorization that affects the behaviour of those who hold the stereotype and those who are labelled by a stereotype. • Schema processing Formation of stereotypes Social categorization (Tajfel) Personal experience and gatekeepers (the media, parents…) Campbell: grain of truth hypothesis (although remember the errors in attribution) Hamilton and Gifford: stereotypes are the result of an illusory correlation – people see a relationship between two variables even when there is none Formation of stereotypes o Confirmation bias – seek out support for the stereotype, which makes stereotypical thinking resistant to change o Snyder and Swann (1978) conducted a study which showed just that with female college students (introverted vs. extroverted) o Methods one use to study stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination…? Due to social desirability effect and “politically correct” Another teacher who wanted to teach through role-playing… • Jane Elliot –A Class Divided • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hqp6GnY qIjQ Stereotype Threat (stereotypes effect on behaviour) • The effect of stereotypes on an individual’s performance • Spotlight anxiety (Steele 1997) • Women and Math (Spencer et al. 1977) • Ethnicity and different abilities (Steele and Aronson 1995) Videos on the blog Stereotype threat affects cognitive ability Women and Math stereotype threat: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjn6ZSU_z S0&feature=related Stereotype threat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGEUVM6Q uMg Homework • Find two examples of stereotypes in the media (newspaper, books, posters, films, products…) • Bring it to class and explain why the image represents a stereotype.