Monday, October 28, 2013

Ethnic Group Conflict

Ethnic Group Conflict
     Cultural conformity is found in every culture. However, when this conformity is based upon negative and distorted social perceptions, conflict such as the Palestinian – Israeli conflict is formed. The distorted views between the two religions have led to a conflict spanning generations. Through negative stereotypes, the two regions have been in conflict without hope of peace. The distortions in religions have led to a more political conflict. Generations of negative social perceptions have led to generations of people filled with hate. 

Cultural Conformity
     Conformity is defined as the “changing or adopting of a behavior or attitude in order to be consistent with the social norms of a group” (Wood, Wood,  & Boyd, 2011, p 545). Psychologists believe that some conformity is needed in order to have a functioning society. Conformity is a universal process. However, some cultures have variations in conformity. Researchers have made some key observations in relation to conformity. Researchers concluded that conformity is higher when a person must respond publicly rather than privately (McGraw Hill, 2010). Researchers have also concluded that individuals working on a task with no clear answer are more susceptible to social pressure and conformity. Irving Janis applied the concept of groupthink to tightly knit groups. Groupthink is the “tendency for members of a group to be more concerned with preserving group solidarity and uniformity than with objectively evaluating all alternatives” (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011, p 545). Groupthink discredits outside views. Because of groupthink, a group may believe they make no mistakes.  
     In Palestine the primary religion is Sunni Islam; whereas, the primary religion in Israel is Judaism. Each group behaves and is characterized by the religious doctrine of the region. Religious and political conformity is of importance in both regions (Hofman, 1977). Both Judaism and Islamic cultures have strict expectations and rules. In both cultures, it is expected that these expectations and rules be followed. Because of these rules, there is strict religious conformity in the region. There are severe political and religious conflicts between the Judaism nation of Israel and the Islamic nation of Palestine. Many of the current issues are due to extremist groups who have created their own set of rules and desire conformity to them. The religions of both regions have a role in creating the culture and lifestyle of the region. According to Cohen (1990), religion is a cultural variable that affects the understanding between societies or nations. The attitudes of each culture have created political issues that appear to be irreconcilable. 

Social Perception and Social Cognition
     Social perception is the process that an individual “uses to obtain critically important information about other people” (Wood, Wood,  & Boyd, 2011, p 541). Social cognition is the mental process that an individual uses to interpret information about the world. Based upon these definitions, social perception is a function of social cognition. Individuals use experiences to make future decisions. Through social experiences, an individual develops attitudes and beliefs. Social perception is rooted deeply in culture. Therefore, an individual raised in similar environments view experiences as similar. However, an individual exposed to different environments tend to view experiences in different ways. The social cognition processes an individual uses to categorize the world are also the processes that may distort the view of the world.
     The perspectives of the Palestinians and Israelis have contributed to the conflicting views of the regions. The views that the two regions have of each other are based on the stereotypes they hold of each other. The conflict of each group has been distorted through the social perceptions of the other group. Because of these distortions, the exact demands of each group have become unclear.
The theory of attitude balance can be considered important in social perception. The theory of attitude balance states that an individual seeks consistency in their attitudes and beliefs (Spector, 2008). An individual will overestimate the positive characteristics of those individuals they like. In contrast, an individual will underestimate positive characteristics and emphasize negative characteristics of those individuals they do not like (Heider, 1959). When applying this theory to the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, it can be concluded that each group emphasizes the negative of the other group. These perceptions are then taught to each generation. This creates the age – old conflict inflicting the region today.

Social Perceptions that Require Change
     Both Judaism and Islam have roots of Abrahamic origin (Esposito, Fasching,  & Lewis, 2009). However, both sides refuse to acknowledge these similarities. These two religions, along with Christianity, are similar and connected. The histories of these three religions include many of the same people and stories (Esposito, Fasching,  & Lewis, 2009). While Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have common beliefs, they also have doctrine and practice differences. These differences are emphasized by the other group and have contributed to the conflict.
     Older generations are continuing to instill the feelings of hatred in younger generations. As long as this practice continues, the Palestinian – Israeli conflict will continue. Children are impressionable; therefore, they are able to be conformed to the hatred that their elders cling on to. Until these children become adults and are able to learn another perception, the cultural perceptions they are conformed to are dominant. Both groups need to form and accept new perceptions. Until this is done, the conflict will remain.
     Individuals are more probable to change their negative perceptions when they acknowledge that the other group may have similar attitudes and beliefs (Byrne, 1961). The religions of Judaism and Islam have similarities. Acknowledgement of these similarities can be a starting point for peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Communication related to religious ideals may begin resolution between these groups. This resolution is important in order to maintain the Holy Land important to both religions (Esposito, Fasching,  & Lewis, 2009). 

      An easy solution to the Palestinian – Israeli conflict is unlikely. However, the changing of social perceptions based on religion is an ideal place to begin. The Palestinian – Israeli conflict is deeply rooted in religion which turned political. The two religions of Judaism and Islam are deeply connected; thus creating a starting point for resolution. Religious communication between the two regions may play a key role in the future of peace between the two groups. Embracing the similarities between the two groups is one way in which to begin changing the social perceptions affecting them.     

Byrne, D. (1961). Interpersonal attraction and attitude similarity. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 62(3), 713 - 715. doi:10.1037/h0044721

Cohen, R. (1990). Culture and conflict in Egyptian-Israeli relations: a dialogue of the deaf. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Esposito, J. L., Fasching, D. J., & Lewis, T. (2009). World Religions Today (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Heider, F. (1959). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York, NY: Wiley.

Hofman, J. (1977). Identity and intergroup perception in Israel. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 1(3), 79-102. doi:10.1016/0147-1767(77)90021-9

McGraw Hill (2010). PsychSmart. New York, NY: Author.

Spector, P. E. (2008). Industrial and Organizational Psychology: research and practice (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011). The world of psychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/ Allyn Bacon.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Issues in Cross-Cultural Psychology

A collaboration between B. Edwards, D. Mehrmann, and C. Swarmer.

This assignment was a PowerPoint Presentation. Click the link to view.

Issues in Cross - Cultural Psychology

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Psychological Disorder: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

Psychological Disorder: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
     Obsessive – compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a condition characterized by perfectionism, interpersonally controlling, and devoted to details (Sue, Sue,  & Sue, 2010). Individuals with obsessive – compulsive personality disorder also have a preoccupation with behaviors such as orderliness, perfectionism, and control. Obsessive – compulsive personality disorder is a more common personality disorder than at first believed. Obsessive – compulsive personality disorder does not appear to have many cultural boundaries. The behaviors of obsessive – compulsive personality disorder as a whole are considered abnormal from the perspective of any culture. 

Human Development and Socialization
     Human development refers to the physical, psychological, and social behavior changes in an individual (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). These changes occur over the course of a life span. Socialization refers to the process where an individual becomes a member of a culture (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). This process involves learning and adopting the values, beliefs, and behaviors of the culture. Human development and socialization are both life – long processes beginning at birth and ending at death. During human development individuals can change or alter the beliefs, behaviors, and values. The cultural expectations are formed in childhood where parents demonstrate the expectations to be learned and how. Human development usually occurs without regard to social construct. However, the characteristics of a culture determine an individual’s socialization. These characteristics usually become a component of an individual’s unconscious. 

Effects of Human Development on Obsessive - Compulsive Personality Disorder
     Obsessive – compulsive personality disorder is the most prevalent personality disorder in the general population affecting 7.9% of the population (Samuel & Widiger, 2010). Studies have been conducted cross – culturally to determine prevalence of obsessive – compulsive personality disorder. One study concluded that prevalence rates were similar; whereas, another study concluded that obsessive – compulsive personality disorder was less prevalent in Asians and Hispanics (de Reus & Emmelkamp, 2012). It was concluded that obsessive – compulsive personality disorder was more common in males and in the Caucasian and African – American ethnicities. Some researchers believe that obsessive – compulsive personality disorder has traces of origination from Freud’s “anal” character traits. However, other researchers believe there is not enough evidence to support this theory. Another theory of some researchers is that the attachment theory plays a role in obsessive – compulsive personality disorder. Some researchers believe that the attachment theory has an important role in the development of personality disorder (de Reus & Emmelkamp, 2012). According to this belief, obsessive – compulsive personality disorder appears to not be cultural based, but rather caused by parenting factors. Studies are also mixed when relating to the heritability of obsessive – compulsive personality disorder. Due to the conflicting theories of the factors causing obsessive – compulsive personality disorder, more research should be conducted to learn what causes the disorder. 

Effects of Socialization on Obsessive - Compulsive Personality Disorder
     Obsessive – compulsive personality disorder is a disorder where the characteristics can significantly reduce the quality of life. The preoccupation with rules, details, and possible errors can cause indecision in an individual (Sue, Sue,  & Sue, 2010). This indecision can cause the individual to not see the bigger picture while making a decision. Individuals with obsessive – compulsive personality disorder see their way as the only correct way to function. This can be linked to cultural expectations. There is, however, not enough evidence to support this belief. The individual with obsessive – compulsive personality disorder has a way of relating to the world. This style is usually a product of their own strict standards (Sue, Sue,  & Sue, 2010). The lack of studies on obsessive – compulsive personality disorder leaves the exact causes as a mystery. Obsessive – compulsive personality disorder tends to run in families; therefore, promoting the biological theories. The results of cross – cultural studies suggests that obsessive – compulsive personality disorder may be caused by the socialization within cultures.

      Human development and socialization are important components of an individual’s personality. Cross – cultural psychology studies the effects of cultures on an individual’s personality. Studies have been conducted to establish a link between human development, socialization, and obsessive – compulsive personality disorder. The characteristics of obsessive – compulsive personality disorder are considered abnormal throughout cultures.   


Samuel, D., & Widiger, T. (2010). A comparison of obsessive - compulsive personality disorder scales. Journal of Personality Assessment, 92(3), 232 - 240. doi:10.1080/00223891003670182

Shiraev, E. B., & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross - Cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/ Allyn Bacon.

Sue, D., Sue, D. W., & Sue, S. (2010). Understanding Abnormal Behavior (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

de Reus, R. M., & Emmelkamp, P. G. (2012). Obsessive - Compulsive personality disorder: a review of current empirical findings. Personality and Mental Health, 6(1), 1-21. doi:10.1002/pmh.144

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Intelligence Testing Article Analysis

Intelligence Testing Article Analysis
     Intelligence is the “capacity to understand the world, think rationally, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges” (McGraw Hill, 2010, p 178). Early psychologists believed that intelligence was caused by the g-factor and was one-dimensional. Howard Gardener and Robert Sternberg both rejected these theories and created their own multiple intelligences theories. They both developed and tested these theories in order to prove that intelligence was not one single thing. Because of their studies, intelligence tests were developed to test for more than just academic knowledge. 

Gardener's Multiple Intelligence Theory
     Howard Gardener defined intelligence as the ability to find and solve problems and create products of value in one’s culture (Campbell, 1992). He was the first in the field to recognize the diversity of human intelligences. He denied the existence of g-factor in intelligence (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). He developed his own theory after studying patients with brain damage affecting certain forms of intelligence. Gardener’s theory proposed that there were seven forms of intelligence: musical, kinesthetic, logical – mathematical, linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. After conducting his studies, Gardener concluded that each of these intelligences is linked to an independent system in the brain. Gardner’s belief was that each person has all seven intelligences but in different degrees. Within his theory, Gardener labeled the units of intelligence with its own abilities which are both measurable and observable (Morgan, 1996). His overall objective was not to develop ways to measure intelligence. Instead, Gardener’s objective was to study the differences in intelligences (Lewis, 2008). Gardener also concluded that these intelligences varied from culture to culture (Campbell, 1992). The intelligence that one culture valued highly may not have been valued highly by another. However, Gardener’s theory also met some controversy. The most controversial aspect of his theory was that all forms of intelligence were of equal value (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011).

Sternberg's Triarchic Theory
     Robert Sternberg was also critical of the g-factor. In turn, he also developed his own multiple intelligence theory. The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence concluded that there were three types of intelligence. Sternberg believed that each of these intelligences are independent and that each individual had a distinct blend of these abilities (Howard, McGee, Shin, & Shia, 2001). The three intelligences included in this theory are componential, experiential, and contextual. Componential intelligence is also called analytical intelligence. This intelligence is used in analyzing, evaluating, explaining, comparing, and contrasting (Howard, McGee, Shin, & Shia, 2001). This intelligence is the same as the intelligence studied with traditional IQ tests. Experiential intelligence is also called creative intelligence. This intelligence is used in creating, designing, discovering, inventing, applying problem – solving processes to unfamiliar problems, and generating new ideas (Howard, McGee, Shin, & Shia, 2001). The third intelligence is contextual or practical intelligence. This intelligence is used to utilize, implement, and apply problem – solving processes to familiar problems (Howard, McGee, Shin, & Shia, 2001). Those individuals with high contextual intelligence are motivated by knowledge. Sternberg applied his theory to the concept of wisdom (Santrock, 2010). It was his belief that contextual intelligence was needed for wisdom. 

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Intelligence Testing
     Intelligence tests were devised to quantify the level of intelligence in an individual (McGraw Hill, 2010). Most intelligence tests measure only analytic intelligence. The main concerns with intelligence testing are the validity and reliability of the tests. This includes whether or not the test was influenced. It is believed in the psychological field that intelligence cannot be understood outside of its cultural context (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Intelligence may be understood differently in cultures. Because of this, there may be ethnic differences in IQ scores (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). To use intelligence tests reliably, tests should be culture – fair. The evaluator should avoid stereotyping. Because of the theories of multiple intelligences, intelligence tests have been developed to demonstrate the different intelligences. In these tests, more than one answer may be correct, thereby demonstrating the different intelligences.  
      Through the works of Gardener and Sternberg, a greater understanding of intelligence has been developed. While both theories have been met with criticism, the theories also explain the cultural differences of intelligence. By using the tests developed by the multiple intelligence theorists, understanding of how an individual is more intelligent in one area than another is formed. Therefore, the cultural similarities and differences can be studied and explained.                                                              

Campbell, B. (1992). Multiple intelligences in action. Childhood Education, 68(4), 197.

Howard, B. C., McGee, S., Shin, N., & Shia, R. (2001). The triarchic theory of intelligence and computer - based inquiry learning. Educational Technology, Research, and Development, 49(4), 49.

Lewis, A. C. (2008). Multiple Intelligences Theory. The Education Digest, 73(9), 74.

McGraw Hill (2010). Psychsmart. New York, NY: Author.

Morgan, H. (1996). An analysis of Gardener's theory of multiple intelligence. Roeper Review, 18(4), 263.

Santrock, J. W. (2010). Children (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Shiraev, E. B., & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross - Cultural psychology: critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/ Allyn and Bacon.

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011). The world of psychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

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