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The Sociocultural Level of Analysis. 4.1 Sociocultural Cognition. Principles. Human beings are social animals and we have a basic need to belong Culture influences behaviour

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The sociocultural level of analysis

The Sociocultural Level of Analysis

4.1 Sociocultural Cognition


  • Human beings are social animals and we have a basic need to belong

  • Culture influences behaviour

  • 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

  • People’s views of the world are resistant to change


  • Culture can be defined as the norms and values that define a society

Be reflective
Be Reflective

  • Brainstorm a list of the groups to which you belong.

  • How important are these groups in your personal identity?

  • What needs do these different groups fill in your life?

Research methods
Research Methods

  • More qualitative

  • Naturalistic

  • Participant observation

  • Descriptive data

  • Overt observation

  • Covert observation


Participant observation
Participant Observation

  • Overt Observation: example – O´Reilly 2000 studies British expatriates on the Costa del Sol

  • Ethical considerations


  • Covert: Example – Leon Festinger et al’s When Prophecy Fails 1956 in Chicago – a religious cult

  • Ethical


Attribution theory
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 theory1
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?”

The actor observer effect
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
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: Lee at al. 1977 p. 105

Errors in attribution
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: Lau & Russel 1980 American football coaches

    Why do we do this? (Greenberg et al. 1982)

Strength of bias depends on
Strength of bias depends on…

  • If one is depressed – the thinking pattern

  • Which culture one is from, for example:

    Americans show greater tendency to make personal attributions for other people’s behaviours. In contrast, participants from India show an increased tendency to make situational attributions. (graphs)

  • Modesty bias – cultural differences in SSB (US and Japanese students)


  • Do our attitudes influence our actions?–  More so when we are made self-conscious

  • Do actions influence our attitudes?-

  • Cognitive dissonance (Festinger)– when attitudes andbehavior contradict each other … what changes?


Homework quiz monday
Homework Quiz - Monday

  • Because you were so great at role-playing, I want you to create a role-play that shows

  • Actor-observer effect

  • The fundamental attribution

  • Self-serving bias

  • Cognitive dissonance

Biases in judgment
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.

  • Self-concept bias

    • What we consider important in ourselves is often what we consider important in others

  • Primacy effects

    • 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

Social identity theory1
Social Identity Theory

  • Henry Tajfeldeveloped this theory

  • Which assumes that individuals strive to improve their self-image by trying to enhance their self-esteem based on either personal identify 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 theory2
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 theory3
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 DP1A and DP1B?


  • 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
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”

Stereotypes prejudice
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

  • Fairy tales

  • Scientist

  • Women

  • Americans

  • Chinese


  • 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
Implicit Association Test (Harvard)

  • Online test that tests your attitudes (implicitly)

  • Prejudice: unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

  • any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.

  • unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group

Another teacher who wanted to teach through role playing
Another teacher who wanted to teach through role-playing…

  • Jane Elliot –A Class Divided


Formation of stereotypes
Formation of stereotypes

  • 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 stereotypes1
Formation of stereotypes

  • Social categorization (Tajfel)

  • Personal experience and gatekeepers (the media, parents…)

  • Campbell: grain of truth hypothesis

  • 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 stereotypes2
Formation of stereotypes

  • Confirmation bias – seek out support for the stereotype, which makes stereotypical thinking resistant to change

  • Snyder and Swann (1978) conducted a study which showed just that with female college students

  • Methods one use to study stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination…? Due to social desirability effect

Stereotype threat
Stereotype Threat

  • The effect of stereotypes on an individual’s performance

  • Spotlight anxiety (Steele 1997)

  • Women and Math

  • Ethnicity and different abilities

    Videos on the blog