Practices in Psychology Essay
Practices in Psychology
Cultural bias is one of many biases to be found in psychological research. If you look at different research studies in Psychology then you will see that the majority of that research has been carried out in Western society and has been applied to the rest of the world not recognising that there might be differences. Most British and American studies have used samples of participants from their own cultures, and usually students. This means that not only can the results not be applied to other cultures and the rest of the world, but they cant be applied to anyone who isnt a student.
Psychology is therefore guilty of an imposed etic, trying to explain the behaviour in one part of the world, e. g. Indonesia, with theories and research that has been developed in another, America. Culture bound syndromes are a clear area of psychology where culture bias is present. Culture bound syndromes are disorders which have been first described in and closely linked to a particular area, group of people or part of the world. Although there are many “culture bound syndromes” that have been found, are they really mental instability.
Just because our culture finds that the Chinese way of greaving is slightly strange does that mean they are suffering from a mental illness? Diagnostic systems are also full of culture bias. If someone is having a conversation with a dead relative in our culture, then according to the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that person is mentally ill, but if this was in Africa, where talking to dead relatives is considered normal behaviour, this assumption that the person is mentally unstable is not appropriate.
As the each country is becoming more multi-culturally attitudes need to change. Culture bias will probably always be present in Psychology and its reasearch as no one can be both English and Indian and Chinese. This could lead to some people (if they are wanting to go to the extreme) considering it to be racist. More cross-cultural research is needed. As then we can compare different cultures to our own, rather than generalising inappropriate reseach that doesn’t apply to all cultures and creating a wrong impression.
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