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Cultural Bias...

Psychological Theory & Research

... In Psychological Research

The Emic-Etic
‘Emic & Etic’ terms are used to
indicate a different set of assumption
underlying cross-cultural research.
Emic Approach
 Emic approaches emphasize every
culture’s uniqueness by focusing on
culturally specific events.

 Cross-cultural
comparisons ignoring emic
approaches are seen as invalid.

 Emic Approaches:
- Study behaviour from within a culture
- Study only that culture
- Produce findings significant only within
that culture
Etic Approach
 DerivedEtic: most human behaviour is
common to humans but cultural factors
influence development/display of

 Imposed Etic: culture plays little/no role

in the development/display of human

 EticApproaches:
- Study behaviour outside a culture
- Study many cultures
- Produce findings considered to apply to
Cultural Equivalence
 Cultural
Bias in Obedience Studies
Unless we can rule out differences in how
these studies were carried out, we
cannot be sure that findings tell us much
about members of these cultures.

Milgram’s Study: ‘victims’ were men.

Kilham & Mann: female give shocks to

All these studies were carried out in

advanced industrial cultures = not
Cultural Equivalence
 CulturalBias in Psychopathology
Researchers imposing own culture’s
mental illness categories on to abnormal
behaviour in other cultures. Seeing
behaviour of other cultures through
Western perspective.

Cultural Relativism: unique aspects of a

culture need to be considered. If cultural
factors are ignored = inappropriate
Commentary (AO2)
 The validity of cross-cultural research can
be questioned because observations of
behaviour in foreign culture are prone to

 Argued: it is impossible to replicate

studies exactly in different cultures, so it
is impossible not to be culturally biased
in studying human behaviour.
Commentary (AO2)
 Several Problems in establishing
similarity in cross-cultural research
(Smith & Bond, 1998)

Translation: instructions/responses must

be faithfully translated.

Manipulation of Variables: impact of

any manipulation must be same in each
cultural group studied.
Commentary (AO2)
Participants: Different social backgrounds
and experiences.

Research Tradition: Positive attitude

(responses remain confidential?) Trust in
the research process can not be taken for
granted in other cultures.