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Chapter 2

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University of Toronto St. George
Simone Walker

PSY321 Chapter 2 Types of Cross-Cultural Research Method Validation Studies  Validity o Refers to whether or not a scale, test, or measure accurately measures what it is supposed to measure  Reliability o Refers to whether it measures it consistently  Cross-cultural validation studies o Examine whether a measure of psychological construct that was originally generated in a single culture is applicable, meaningful, and most importantly psychometrically equivalent (equally reliable and valid) in another culture o Conduct before cross-cultural comparisons Indigenous Cultural Studies  Indigenous cultural studies are characterized by rich descriptions of complex theoretical models of culture that predict and explain cultural differences  Mesquita describes how cultural systems produce different concepts of the self, which in turn produce different types of specific concerns o Individualistic cultures encourage the development of independent senses of self that encourage a focus on personal concerns and the view that emotions signal internal, subjective feelings; collectivistic cultures, contrastingly, encourage the worth and the worth of one’s ingroup and the notion that emotions reflect something about interpersonal relationships Cross-Cultural Comparisons  Cross-culture comparisons are studies that compare cultures on some psychological variable of interest o Serve as a backbone of CC research and are the most prevalent type of CC study Types of Cross-Cultural Comparisons  4 important dimensions that underlie and characterize diff types of CC comparisons Exploratory vs. Hypothesis Testing  Exploratory o Designed to examine the existence of CC similarities and differences o Researchers tend to stay “close to the data” PSY321  Hypothesis-testing studies o Designed to examine why cultural differences may exist o Make larger inferential jumps by testing theories of CC similarities and differences o The validity of these inferential jumps if often threatened by CC biases and inequivalence  Methodological strengths and weakness mirror each other o Strength  Exploratory: broad scope for identifying CC sim and diff  Hypothesis: focused search of sim and siff o Weakness  Exploratory: limited capability to address causes of the observed differences  Hypothesis: less likely to discover interesting differences outside the realm of the test theory Presence or Absence of Contextual Factors  Contextual factors o Involve characteristics of the participants (socioeconomic status, education, and age or their cultures (economic development and religious institutions o Involve any variable that can explain, partly or fully, observed CC differences o Helps enhance validity and helps rule our the influence of biases and inequivalence b/c an evaluation of their influences can help to (dis)confirm their role in accounting for the cultural differences observed Structure vs. Level Oriented  Structure involves comparisons of constructs (e.g. is depression conceptualized in the same way across cultures?), their structures (can depression be assessed by the same principal elements in diff cultures?), or their relationships w/ other constructs (do depression and anxiety have the same relationship w/ all countries?) o Focus on relationships among variables and attempt to identify similarities and differences in these relations across cultures  Level oriented involve the comparisons of scores (do individuals from diff cultures show the same level of depression?) o Ask whether people of diff cultures have diff mean levels of diff variables Individual vs. Ecological (Cultural) Level  Individual-level o Participants provide data and are the unit of analysis  Ecological (cultural) level PSY321 o Use countries of cultures the unit of analysis  Multi-level studies o Use data from 2 (or more) levels and incorporate the used of sophisticated statistical techniques that examine the relationship of the data at one level to data at another  E.g. can examine how individual differences in performance on a cognitive task (level 1) may be related to personality traits of those individuals (level 2) and how those personality traits may be related to cultural values of other ecological variables (level 3) Designing CC Comparative Research Designs that Establish Linkages B/w Cultures and Individual Mental Processes and Behaviours  Linkage studies – 2 types conducted, unpackaging studies and experiments o Unpackaging studies  Extensions of basic CC comparisons, but include the measurement of a variable (contextual factor) that assesses the contents of culture that are thought to produce the differences on the variable being compared across cultures  Cultures are like onions, layer or layer until nothing is left  Context variables (specific variables) o Individual-level measures of culture  Measures that asses a variable on the individual level that is thought to be a product of culture  Most common dimension of culture operationalized on the individual level is Individualism vs. Collectivism  Triandis refers to IC as idiocentrism and allocentrism  Horizontal collectivism, individuals see themselves ad members of ingroups in which all members are equal  Vertical collectivism, individuals see themselves as members of ingroups that are characterized by hierarchical or status relationships  Horizontal individualism, individuals are autonomous and equal  Vertical individualism, individuals are autonomous but unequal o Self-construct scales  Cultural differences in self-esteem and embarassability were empirically linked to the individual differences on these types of self-constructs o Personality  Context variable that may affect psychological processes PSY321 o Cultural practices  E.g. child-rearing, the nature of interpersonal relationships, or cultural worldviews o Experiments are studied in which researchers create conditions to establish cause-effect relationships  Can't create the cultural groups of randomly assign to those groups in CC research (quasi-experimental design) o Priming studies  Involve experimentally manipulating the mindsets of participants and measuring the resulting changes in behaviour o Behavioural studies  Observe changes in behaviour when manipulation is involved Bias and Equivalence  Bias refers to the differences that don’t exactly have the same meaning w/in and across cultures o A state of non-equivalence o If there is any bias in any aspect of a CC comparative study, then the comparison loses its meaning o Apples in one culture can be compared only to apples in another  Equivalence is a state or condition of similarity in conceptual meaning and empirical method b/w cultures that allows comparisons to be meaningful o A state of no bias Conceptual Bias  If all theoretical framework being tested and the specific hypothesis being addressed are not equivalent across the cultures participating in the study, then the data obtained from them are not comparable b/c they mean diff things  If the theoretical framework and hypothesis are equivalent across participating cultures, the study may be meaningful and relevant Method Bias  Sampling bias 2 issues o Whether samples are appropriate representatives of their culture o Whether the samples are equivalent on noncultural demographic variables, such as age, sex, religion, socioeconomic status, work  Linguistic bias o Refers to whether the research protocols—items on questionnaires, instructions, etc.—used in a CC study are semantically equivalent across the various languages included in the study, 2 procedures use to establish linguistic equivalence: o Back translation PSY321  Taking the research protocol in one language, translating it to the other language, and having someone else translate it back to the original  The original language is decentred through this process o Committee approach  Several bilingual informants collectively translate a research protocol across languages and cultures  Procedural bias o CC researchers need to confront differences in their work and establish procedures, environments, and settings that are equivalent across the cultures being compared Measurement Bias  Measurement bias refers to the degree to which measures used to collect data in different cultures are equally valid and reliable o Validity = whether a measure accurately measures what its supposed to measure o Reliability = how consistently a measure measures what its supposed to measure  Linguistic equivalence alone doesn’t guarantee measurement equivalence o Even if the words beings used in 2 languages are the same, there is no guarantee that those words have exactly the same meanings o Even when translating, the words may not have the same connotations, strength, and
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