Outline principles that define the sociocultural level of analysis. (8)

Outline (8) – Give a brief account or summary.

Principle 1 – Human beings are social animals, we feel a need to belong.


Solomon Asch – Asch’s Paradigm Experiment (Conformity)
[A] Investigate the existence of conformity.
  • Subject was placed into a room with 6 confederates and the experimenter.
  • Subject was deceived that the 6 confederates were participants just like them.
  • The subject was placed on the second last seat so they will be the second last to give an answer.
  • The group of subject and confederates were asked to select the line on the second card that matched the line on the first card.
  • There were 18 sets of cards in total, some of which had lines that were completely different in length, others are similar in length.
  • Confederates were instructed to answer correctly on some of the cards but answer incorrectly for most.
  • 75% conformed at least once to the wrong answer
  • 32% conformed to more than half of the wrong answers
  • 24% did not conform at all
  • Conformity happened
  • Those who did not conform sparked further research
  • Ecological validity: Low, lab conditions.
  • Controlled environment removed confounding variables.
  • Meaningless stimuli.
  • Gender bias, only male participants were used.
  • Culture bias, only population of the US were used.
  • Cannot be generalised to all population.
  • Ethics: Deception, but subjects were debriefed.

Principle 2 – Social and cultural environment affects/influences behaviour.

Social Learning Theory (Theorist: Albert Bandura)

Albert Bandura – Bobo Doll Experiment (SLT)
[A] To demonstrate that learning can occur through observation of role models.
  • 36 boys and 36 girls from age 3 to 6 were divided into groups according to their aggression evaluation from their parents and teachers.
  • Group 1 was exposed to adult models who showed aggression by beating up a Bobo Doll. Models were of both genders.
  • Group 2 observed an adult model who displayed no aggression. Models were of both genders.
  • Group 3 was a controlled group who did not see any model. (Control)
  • The children were then placed into the room with a Bobo doll after 10 minutes of watching the model.
  • Children who observed the aggressive model showed significantly more aggression both physically and verbally.
  • Boys were more likely to imitate physical aggression.
  • Girls were more likely to imitate verbal aggression.
  • Social learning theory was demonstrated in the study because the children showed signs of observational learning.
  • Ethics: Induced aggression.
  • Oversimplification of the learning process.
  • Ecological validity: Low, lab conditions.
  • Confounding variable: children unfamiliar with doll were 5 times more likely to imitate aggressive behaviour.

Principle 3 – Humans have a social self.

Social Identity Theory (Theorist: Henry Tajfel)

Henry Tajfel – Intergroup discrimination Experiment (SIT)
[A] To test the Social Identity Theory.
  • 48 boys were assigned at random to 2 groups based on their preference between Klee or Kandinsky’s art work.
  • Asked to rate in-group and out-group based on traits e.g. like-ability.
  • Tajfel found that the out-group was rated less likeable, but never actually disliked.
  • There seems to be a preference of the in-group over out-group, however it is not clear that they make social comparisons to enhance either self-esteem.
  • Later research – Social identity does not account for intergroup conflict. In the absence of competition, social comparison can be positive.
  • Supports Social Identity Theory.
  • Showed the formation and the features of SIT.
  • Ecological validity: Low, lab conditions.
  • Meaningless groups.
  • Controlled environment removed confounding variables.

Principle 4 – People’s view on the world are resistant to change.


Errors in attributions

Lee et al. – Audience and Game show experiment (FAE)
[A] Demonstrate the Fundamental Attributional Error (FAE).
  • Subjects were split into groups of hosts, audiences and contestants, randomly.
  • Hosts were asked to design there own questions.
  • Audiences watched the show.
  • After the game show the audience were asked to rank the intelligence of people taken part.
  • Audience consistently rated the hosts smarter.
  • They failed to attribute the role to the person’s situation (random assignation of role).
  • Instead attributed the person’s performance to dispositional factors.
  • Only student participants were used.
  • University students spend their days listening to professors – authority figures who ask questions and give answers and is a learned response rather than attribution error.