Western domination of social psychology
To what extent is social psychology theory and research
dominated by Western perspectives
- and what can be done about it?
Some initial thoughts
- Define (limit) "Western"
- Limit to scholarly pursuit (scientific study)?
- Concepts of the self
- Perception & attitudes
- Social identity theory
- Non-western theory development
- Research methods
- Self-enhancement bias
- Self-serving bias
- Personality factors
What can be done?
Assume global relevance?
- Incorporate culture in theory
- Include cultural variables in research
Indigenisation from without
- "Glocalization" = "phenotypic variations of global genotype" (Chui, 2007)- global relevance?
Indigenisation from within
- Culture as a source
- Relevant applied research
- Western construct
Some other possible considerations
Some thoughts which may be useful / may already be covered:
- What is non-Western? (e.g., does non-Western = Eastern?; perhaps also an alternative dimension is collectivist compared to individualistic cultures)
- Body-mind issues; e.g., have Western perspectives in psychology pushed a dualistic separation of body-mind?
- Individualistic perspectives (e.g., to the detriment of social perspectives?)
- Bias towards significant findings and publication? (e.g., publication bias; file drawer effect)
- Bias towards North American perspectives, studies, etc.
- Overuse of university students as samples (see Further Reading)
- Political/government funding of particular lines of research and employment (e.g., anti-illegal drug research, as opposed to "objective research")
It was agreed that the second part of the question should be removed. The final question became:
To what extent is social psychology theory and research dominated by Western perspectives?
There is a strong Western dominance in social psychology theory and research. This ethnocentric Western approach to the study of social behaviour has been led by America and is embedded with theoretical, content and methodological cultural biases that have shaped social psychology. This article explores the integral theoretical concepts of the self and the distinction between individualism and collectivism in social psychology. Constructs such as cognitive dissonance, social loafing, and conformity are used to illustrate theoretical and research biases. The limitations of Western research methods, such as the publication bias, overuse of students as research participants, and the narrow scope of research design, are considered; as are construct, method and item biases affecting the reliability and validity of Western cross-cultural tests. These biases indicate there is little regard for other cultural perspectives in Western social psychology.
Abrams, D., & Hogg, M.A. (2004). Metatheory: Lessons from social identity theory research. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8 (2), 98-106.
Allwood, C. M., & Berry, J. W. (2006). Origins and development of indigenous psychologies: An international analysis. International Journal of Psychology, 41 (4), 243-268.
Amir, Y., & Sharon, I. (1988). Are social psychological laws cross-culturally valid? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 18 (4), 383-470.
Ardila, R. (2007). The nature of psychology: The great dilemmas. American Psychologist, 62 (8) 906-912.
Bodner, T.E. (2006). Designs, participants, and measurement methods in psychological research. Canadian Psychology, 47 (4), 263-272.
Bond, M. H., & Smith, P. B. (1996). Cross-cultural social and organizational psychology. Annual Review of Psychology, 47, 205-235.
Bond, R., & Smith, P. B. (1996). Culture and conformity: A meta-analysis of studies using Asch’s (1952b, 1956) line judgement task. Psychological Bulletin, 119 91), 111-137.
Brown, J. D. & Kobayashi, C. (2003). Introduction: Culture and the self-enhancement bias. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34 (5), 492-495.
Cheung, F. M. (2004). Use of Western and indigenously developed personality tests in Asia. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 53 (2), 173-191.
Chiu, C. (2007). How can Asian social psychology succeed globally? Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 41-44.
Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112 (1), 155-159.
Diab, L. (1970). A study of intragroup and intergroup relations among experimentally produced small groups. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 82, 49-82.
Fiske, A. P. (2002). Using individualism and collectivism to compare cultures – A critique of the validity and measurement of the constructs: Comment on Osyerman et al. (2002). Psychological Bulletin, 128 (1), 78-88.
Gabrenya, W. K., Wang, Y., & Latané, B. (1985). Social loafing on an optimizing task: Cross- cultural difference among Chinese and Americans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 16 (2), 223-242.
Heine, S. J., & Lehman, D. R. (1997). Culture, dissonance, and self-affirmation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23 (94), 389-400.
Heine, S. J., Lehman, D. R., Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1999). Is there a universal need for positive self-regard? Psychological Review, 106 (4), 766-794.
Ho, D. Y. F., Peng, S., Lai, A. C., & Chan, S.F. (2001). Indigenization and beyond: Methodological relationism in the study of personality across cultural traditions. Journal of Personality, 69 (6), 925-953.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Motivation, leadership, and organization: Do American theories apply abroad? Organizational Dymanics, 1, 42-63.
Hofstede, G. (2007). A European in Asia. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 16-21.
Hoshino-Browne, E., Zanna, A. S., Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., Kitayama, S., Lackenbauer, S. (2005). On the cultural guises of cognitive dissonance: The case of Easterners and Westerners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89 (3), 294-310.
Hwang, K. (2005). A philosophical reflection on the epistemology and methodology of indigenous psychologies. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 8, 5-17.
Kanagawa, C., Cross, S.E., & Markus, H. R. (2001). “Who am I?” The cultural psychology of the conceptual self. Personality Psychology and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27 (1), 90-103.
Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1993). Social loafing: A meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65 (4), 681-706.
Latané, B., Williams, K., & Harkins, S. (1979). Many hands make light work: The causes and consequences of social loafing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37 (6), 822-832
Leung, K. (2007). Asian social psychology: Achievements, threats, and opportunities. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 8-15.
Lunt, I., & Poortinga, Y. H. (1996). Internationalizing psychology: The case of Europe. American Psychologist, 51(5), 504-508.
Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1998). The cultural psychology of personality. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29 (1), 63-87.
Matsumoto, D. (2007). Comments on the future of Asian social psychology. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 45-47.
McDaniel, M.A., Rothotein, H.R., & Whetz, D. L. (2006). Publication bias: A case for test vendors. Personnel Psychology, 59, 927-953.
Miller, J. G. (2002). Bringing culture to basic psychological theory - Beyond individualism and collectivism: Comment on Oyserman et al. (2002). Psychological Bulletin, 128 (1), 97-109.
Moghaddam, F. M., Taylor, D. M., & Wright, S. C. (1993). Social psychology in cross- cultural perspective. New York: Freeman.
Paunonen. S. V., & Ashton, M. C. (1998). The structured assessment of personality across cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29 (1), 150-170.
Poortinga, Y. H. (2003). Coherence of culture and generalizability of data: Two questionable assumptions in cross-cultural psychology. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 49, 257-305.
Poortinga, Y. H., & van Hemert, D.A. (2001). Personality and culture demarcating between the common and the unique. Journal of Personality, 69 (9), 1033-1060.
Quinones-Vidal, E., Lopez-Garcia, J. J., Penaranda-Ortega, M., & Tortosa-Gil, F. (2004). The nature of social and personality psychology as reflected in JPSP, 1965-2000. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86 (3), 435-452.
Richard, F. D., Bond, C. F., Jr., & Stokes-Zoota, J. J. (2003). One hundred years of social psychology quantitatively described. Review of General Psychology, 7 (4), 331-363.
Rozin, P. (2001). Social psychology and science: Some lessons from Solomon Asch. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5 (1), 2-14.
Rozin, P. (2007). Exploring the landscape of modern and academic psychology: Finding and filling holes. American Psychologist, 68 (2), 754-766.
Sears, D. O. (1986). College sophomores in the laboratory: Influences of a narrow data base on social psychology’s view of human nature. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51 (30), 515-530.
Seedat, M. (1998). A chacterisation of South African psychology (1948-1988): The impact of exclusionary ideology. South African Journal of Psychology, 28 (12), 74-84.
Silvera, D. H., & Seger, C.R. (2004). Feeling good about ourselves: Unrealistic self- evaluations and their relation to self-esteem in the United States and Norway. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35 (5), 571-585.
Singelis, T. M. (2000). Some thoughts on the future of cross-cultural psychology. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31 (1), 76-91.
Sinha, D. (1998). Changing perspectives in social psychology in India: a journey towards indigenisation. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 1, 17-31.
Smith, P. B. (2005). Is there an indigenous European social psychology? International Journal of Psychology, 40 (4), 254-262.
Smith, P. B., Bond, M. H., & Kağitçibaşi, Ç. (2006). Cultural aspects of intergroup relations. In P. B. Smith, M. H. Bond, & Ç. Kağitçibaşi, Understanding social psychology across cultures: Living and working in a changing world (pp. 222-247) London: Sage.
Snibbe, A. C., Kitayama, S., Markus, H. R., & Suzuki, T. (2003). They saw a game: A Japanese and American (football) field study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34 (5), 581-595.
Suh, E. (2002). Culture, identity consistency, and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83 (6), 1378-1391.
Triandis, H. C. (1996). The psychological measurement of cultural syndromes. American Psychologist, 51 (4), 407-415.
Triandis, H. C., & Suh, E. M. (2002). Cultural influences on personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 133-160.
van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Leung, K. (2001). Personality in cultural context: Methodological issues. Journal of Personality, 69 (6), 1007-1031.
van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Poortinga, Y. H. (1997). Towards an integrated analysis of bias in cross-cultural assessment. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 13 (1), 29- 37.
van Eeden, R., & Prinsioo, C. H. (1997). Using the South African version of the 16 P F in a multicultural context . South African Journal of Psychology, 27 (3), 151-159.
Ward, C. (2007). Asian social psychology: Looking in and looking out. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 22-31.
Wintre, M. G., North, C., & Sugar, L.A. (2001). Psychologists’ response to criticisms about research based on undergraduate participants: A developmental perspective. Canadian Psychology, 42 (3), 216-225.