EXPLAIN HOW PRINCIPLES THAT DEFINE THE SOCIO-CULTURAL LEVEL OF ANALYSIS MAY BE DEMONSTRATED IN RESEARCH
Socio-cultural level of analysis deals with exploring the power of culture and the social adaptations in relation to social behavior. We organisms through human evolution have acquired these influential aspects. This section of analysis in psychology is one of the three: biological, cognitive and socio-cultural. There are four principles that define the socio-cultural level of analysis. The first principle takes into account the social context of human behavior and states that human beings are social animals, with a basic need to belong. The second one focuses on culture, and says that culture influences behavior. The third principle is derived from what is stated in the first principle and concludes that since human beings are social animals, they have a ‘social self’. The fourth important principle in this level of analysis is that people’s views of the world are resistant to change. In the following sections of this essay, we will examine how research has validated these four claims. Human beings are social animals, with a basic need to belong. This first principle explains how every individual depends on a particular social group. So this group and the individual are interrelated. Hence, if something happening in the group affects us, our behavior would also affect the group. This is why we act according to our social surroundings, keeping in mind that we say can and probably will affect the rest of the ‘social animals’. Asch’s experiment in 1951 was conducted to investigate how much social pressure from a majority group could make a person conform. He used a vision test on 50 male participants from Swarthmore College in the US. This test was a line judgment task and one participant was put in the testing room with seven confederates. The participant did not know the rest of the men in the room were confederates and believed them to be participants just like him. What he did not know was that the confederates had pre-decided the responses they would give when doing the line task. Everyone had to call out which line (A, B or C) matched the target line the most. The participant was placed at the end so he would hear everyone else’s answers before it was his turn. Each answer was obvious, and with 18 trials, the confederates gave wrong answers on 12 trials(called the critical trials). Asch wanted to see whether the participant would conform to the majority decision. He also had another controlled condition where there were no confederates, and only real participants. After calculating the results, it was measured that one-third of the participants placed in the first condition ended up conforming to the obvious incorrect majority on the critical trials. Out of the 12 critical trials, only 25% of the participants whereas the rest conformed at least once. Within the other controlled condition, where participants where faced with no confederate pressure, it was seen that less than 1% of the participants gave the wrong answers. When interviewed after the experiments, majority of the participants admitted that they did not believe the answers they were conforming to were right, but went along with it in fear of looking like the odd one and being singled out. Whereas few said they actually trusted everyone else’s answers over theirs.
Hence, the results of this experiment conclude that humans tend to conform in order to remain in the social circle of people. Nonetheless, Asch’s experiment can be questioned in relation to gender and validity. His controlled lab experiment consisted only of males of the same age group and so is gender biased, which means we cannot generalize the results for females and the results also lack population validity. Also, with reference to cross culture, it is seen that all the men were American and so the results may vary with other cultures. Moreover, the level of conformity was measured...
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