Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates


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Issues & Debates Key Terms

This view of gender divergence in personality development has implications for other aspects of development.

4.3.1 Issues and debates in Psychology

In boys, immoral behavior is regulated through the mechanism of castration anxiety — men obey the rules because of an unconscious fear that their father will take away their penis. In the Freudian view, the girl has already had to accept her castration as a fait accompli, which raises important questions about the relative moral strength of men and women. The biomedical view of mental illness, which approaches behavioral and psychological abnormality as a manifestation of underlying pathological processes on the biological level, dominates discussion of mental illness.

In the biomedical view , illnesses such as depression can be explained in terms of chemical imbalances causing malfunction in the parts of the brain associated with emotion. When explaining why twice as many women as men are diagnosed with depression, adherents of the biomedical view tend to suggest that this is due to hormonal differences, and point to the existence of, for example, post-natal depression to show how fluctuations in female sex hormones can lead to abnormalities of mood. Cultures may differ from one another in many ways, so that the findings of psychological research conducted in one culture may not apply directly to another.

General Background In order to fulfil its aspiration of explaining human thinking and behavior, psychology must address the huge diversity in people around the globe. At the same time, people are affected by a range of factors that are specific to the cultural group in which they developed and within which they live. Psychologists should always attempt to account for the ways in which culture affects thinking and behavior. However, this has not always been the case.

Psychology is a discipline that evolved within a very specific cultural context. Consequently, it has incorporated a particular world-view that of the industrialised West into the ways it tries to understand people.

This can have consequences. For example:. We will be looking at how cultural bias can affect psychological theories and research studies, and the sorts of things psychologists can do to avoid the worst effects of cultural bias.

An emic construct is one that is applied to only in one cultural group, so they vary from place to place differences between cultures. An emic approach refers to the investigation of a culture from within the culture itself. This means that research of European society from a European perspective is emic, and African society by African researchers in Africa is also emic.

An emic approach is more likely to have ecological validity as the findings are less likely to be distorted or caused by a mismatch between the cultures of the researchers and the culture being investigated. Culture bias can occur when a researcher assumes that an emic construct behavior specific to a single culture is actually an etic behavior universal to all cultures.

For example, emic constructs are likely to be ignored or misinterpreted as researchers from another culture may not be sensitive to local emics. An etic construct is a theoretical idea that is assumed to apply in all cultural groups. Therefore, etic constructs are considered universal to all people, and are factors that hold across all cultures similarities between cultures.

Etic constructs assume that most human behavior is common to humans but that cultural factors influence the development or display of this behavior. Culture bias can occur when emics and etics get mistaken for each other. Making the assumption that behaviors are universal across cultures can lead to imposed etics , where a construct from one culture is applied inappropriately to another.

For example, although basic human emotional facial expressions are universal there can be subtle cultural variation in these. The individual uses their own ethnic group to evaluate and make judgments about other individuals from other ethnic groups. This becomes racism when other cultures are denigrated or their traditions regarded as irrelevant etc. The antidote to ethnocentrism is cultural relativism, which is an approach to treating each culture as unique and worthy of study.

Cultural relativism is the principle of regarding the beliefs, values, and practices of a culture from the viewpoint of that culture itself. The principle is sometimes practiced to avoid cultural bias in research, as well as to avoid judging another culture by the standards of one's own culture. For this reason, cultural relativism has been considered an attempt to avoid ethnocentrism. The strange situation procedure is not appropriate for assessing children from non-US or UK populations as it is based on Western childrearing ideals i.

Gender and Culture in Psychology

The original study only used American, middle-class, white, home-reared infants and mothers therefore the generalisability of the findings could be questioned as well as whether this procedure would be valid for other cultures too. Cultural differences in child-rearing styles make results liable to misinterpretation e. German or Japanese samples. Takahshi aimed to see whether the strange situation is a valid procedure for cultures other than the original. Takashi found no children in the avoidant-insecure stage, this could be explained in cultural terms as Japanese children are taught that such behavior is impolite and the would be actively discouraged from displaying it.

Also because Japanese children experience much less separation, the SSC was more than mildly stressful. An example of an etic approach which produces bias might be the imposition of IQ tests designed within one culture on another culture. Nobles argues that western psychology has been a tool of oppression and dominance. Cultural bias has also made it difficult for psychologists to separate the behavior they have observed from the context in which they observed it.

Equal opportunity legislation aims to rid psychology of cultural bias and racism, but we must be aware merely swapping old, overt racism for new, more subtle forms of racism Howitt and Owusu-Bempah, Free Will suggests that we all have a choice and can control and choose our own behavior. This approach is all about personal responsibility and plays a central role in Humanist Psychology.

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Media Studies, Key Issues and Debates by Eoin Devereux | | Booktopia

By arguing that humans can make free choices, the free will approach appears to be quite the opposite of the deterministic one. Psychologists who take the free will view suggest that determinism removes freedom and dignity, and devalues human behavior. To a lesser degree Cognitive Psychology also supports the idea of free will and choice. In reality, although we do have free will it is constrained by our circumstances and other people. For example, when you go shopping your choices are constrained by how much money you have. The determinist approach proposes that all behavior is determined and thus predictable.

Some approaches in psychology see the source of this determinism as being outside the individual, a position known as environmental determinism. Others see it from coming inside i. Skinner argued that freedom is an illusion. We may think we have freewill but the probability of any behavior occurring is determined by past experiences. Skinner claimed that free will was an illusion — we think we are free, but this is because we are not aware of how our behavior is determined by reinforcement. Freud thought that free will was an illusion, because he felt that the causes of our behavior is unconscious and still predictable.


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Hard Determinism sees free will as an illusion and believes that every event and action has a cause. Soft Determinism represents a middle ground, people do have a choice, but that choice is constrained by external factors e. By creating general laws of behavior, deterministic psychology underestimates the uniqueness of human beings and their freedom to choose their own destiny. Deterministic explanations for behavior reduce individual responsibility. A person arrested for a violent attack for example might plead that they were not responsible for their behavior — it was due to their upbringing, a bang on the head they received earlier in life, recent relationship stresses, or a psychiatric problem.

In other words, their behavior was determined. The central question is the extent to which our behavior is determined by our biology nature and the genes we inherit from our parents versus the influence of environmental factors nurture such as home school and friends.

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Nature is the view that all our behavior is determined by our biology, our genes. This is not the same as the characteristics you are born with, because these may have been determined by your pre-natal environment. In addition, some genetic characteristics only appear later in development as a result of the process of maturation. Evolutionary explanations of human behavior exemplify the nature approach is psychology.

Media studies: key issues and debates

The main assumption underlying this approach is that any particular behavior has evolved because of its survival value. This survival value is further increased because attachment has implications for later relationship formation which will ultimately promote successful reproduction. Evolutionary psychologists assume that behavior is a product of natural selection.

Interpersonal attraction can, for example, be explained as a consequence of sexual selection. Physiological psychology is also based on the assumption that behavior can be explained in terms of genetically programmed systems. The experience of sensitive caregiving leads a child to develop expectations that others will be equally sensitive, so that they tend to form adult relationships that are enduring and trusting.

Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates
Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates

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