Social Psychologists Have Found That When People Are Asked To Make Judgements About A Particular Issue Or Problem These Judgements Are Different Depending On Whether They Are Made Alone Or With Other People. Discuss The

2328 words - 10 pages

Social psychologists have found that when people are asked to make judgements about a particular issue or problem these judgements are different depending on whether they are made alone or with other people. Discuss the strengths and weakness of Cultural Value and Informational Influence explanations of this phenomenon.

Many conflicts happen as a result of groups sharing and supporting only opinion of like-minded others in the group. Such interaction can intensify previous opinions and ideas and it remains to be investigated why this is the case. The question remains whether it is the bad or the good outcome in such interactions as opinions can polarize depending on the group attitude as ...view middle of the document...

One of such studies was made by Carlson and Davies (1971) in whom they compared college students in the United States with the secondary school students in Uganda. However, the results of the study were vague. The results showed that Ugandan students were more cautious in making individual decisions than their American colleagues while for the Ugandan sample it failed in finding any substantial shift towards caution or risk in the group’s decision making.
Nevertheless, Pruitt (1971) found numerous methodological problems in this study. He argues that the design between groups was not sensitive enough to detect moderate shifts. Also another issue could be with the heterogeneity of the Ugandan sample as there are many tribes in Uganda and not all of them have a value cautious orientation. He mentioned the Baganda tribe that has a hostile and confrontational tradition and therefore could not be categorized as being cautious. For that reason it is necessary to provide a satisfactory test of the culture value theory and more studies in the cautious cultures are required.
Additionally, the study by Smith (1973) has compared individual decision and group decisions of the group of Chinese students from Taiwan together with the sample of American students. He described the Chinese culture as being closest to the cautious culture and it gives significance to the “Chung Yung” or so called Doctrine of the Mean. This Confucian ethic represents moderation, balance and tends to evade extreme thoughts and deeds. As the Confucian ideals are still taught in every school in Taiwan the students were therefore chosen with the purpose. Also the Government gives significance to Confucian ideals. The research has revealed that Chinese were showing significantly more cautious approach in making group decisions than in being able to make individual decisions. As a result this research has provided solid evidence in support of the theory. These findings support a thought that risky and cautious shift have a cultural foundation which could be either more cautious or more risky, subject to the culture they belong to.
However, it is important to be able to judge the culture shift to the issue preference and the suggestion by Hong (1978) is to make sure there should be a focus on the interaction of these two influences. However, Hong has also shown the limitation of the methodology in this study; there was too much relying on the circumstantial evidence when judging behaviour of Chinese students as there was no direct measurement of Confucian ideal. Also, the cautious shift could not have been directly perceived to the Confucian ethic. The lack of ability to control major characteristics in both groups during experiment for instance, age, social class could have weakened the overall conclusion. In addition, such samples of American and Chinese Taiwanese could not be seen as being representative of their country; therefore interferences with such large population are...

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