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culturally different groups

Assess Guideline 1 and 2 and answer the following questions
• What biases, perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs might you hold about culturally different groups?
• How might attitudes or perceptions influence your interaction with individuals who are culturally different from yourself?
• How knowledgeable are you about the values, practices, and experiences of individuals who are culturally different from yourself? Explain your answer.
• What are your strengths and weaknesses in interacting with culturally different individuals and how might you address shortcomings?

Guideline 1: Psychologists are encouraged to recognize that, as cultural beings, they may hold attitudes and beliefs that can detrimentally influence their perceptions of and interactions with individuals who are ethnically and racially different from themselves

Psychologists, like all people, are shaped and influenced by many factors. These include, but are not limited to, their cultural heritage(s), various dimensions of identity including ethnic and racial identity development, gender socialization, socioeconomic experiences, and other dimensions of identity that predispose individual psychologists to certain biases and assumptions about themselves and others. Psychologists approach interpersonal interactions with a set of attitudes, or worldview, that helps shape their perceptions of others. This worldview is shaped in part by their cultural experiences. Indeed, cross-cultural and multicultural literature consistently indicates that all people are multicultural beings, that all interactions are cross-cultural, and that all of our life experiences are perceived and shaped from within our own cultural perspectives ( Arredondo et al., 1996; M. B. Brewer & Brown, 1998; A. P. Fiske et al., 1998; Fouad & Brown, 2000; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Pedersen, 2000; D. W. Sue et al., 1982, 1992; D. W. Sue, Ivey, & Pedersen, 1996).

Psychologists are encouraged to learn how cultures differ in basic premises that shape worldview. For example, it may be important to understand that a cultural facet of mainstream culture in the United States is a preference for individuals who are independent, who are focused on achieving and success, who have determined (and are in control of) their own personal goals, and who value rational decision making ( A. P. Fiske et al., 1998; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Oyserman, Coon, & Kemmelmeier, 2002). By contrast, individuals with origins in cultures of East Asia may prefer interdependence with others, orientation toward harmony with others, conformity with social norms, and subordination of personal goals and objectives to the will of the group ( A. P. Fiske et al., 1998). A preference for an independent orientation may shape attitudes toward those with preferences for same or other orientations. This preference is a concern when a different orientation is unconsciously and automatically judged negatively ( Greenwald & Banaji, 1995).

The perceiver in an interaction integrates not only the content of the interaction but also information about the target person, including personality traits, physical appearance, age, sex, ascribed race, ability/disability, among other characteristics ( Kunda & Thagard, 1996). All of these perceptions are shaped by the perceiver's worldview and organized in some coherent whole to make sense of the other person's behavior. The psychological process that helps to organize the often overwhelming amount of information in perceiving others is to place people in categories, thereby reducing the information into manageable chunks that go together ( S. T. Fiske, 1998). This normal process leads to associating various traits and behaviors with particular groups (e.g., all athletes are more brawn than brain, all women like to shop) even if they are inaccurate for particular, many, or even most individuals.

The most often used theoretical framework for understanding approaches that emphasize attention to categories has been social categorization theory, originally conceptualized by Allport (1954). In this framework, people make sense of their social world by creating categories of the individuals around them, a process that includes separating the categories into in-groups and out-groups ( M. B. Brewer & Brown, 1998; S. T. Fiske, 1998; Hornsey & Hogg, 2000; Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Turner, Brown, & Tajfel, 1979). Categorization has a number of uses, including speed of processing and efficiency in use of cognitive resources, in part because it appears to happen fairly automatically ( S. T. Fiske, 1998).

Relevant to these guidelines are factors that influence categorization and its effect on attitudes toward individuals who are racially or ethnically different from self. These include a tendency to exaggerate differences between groups and similarities within one group and a tendency to favor one's in-group over the out-group; this, too, is done outside conscious processing ( S. T. Fiske, 1998). In-groups are more highly valued, are more trusted, and engender greater cooperation as opposed to competition ( M. B. Brewer & Brown, 1998; Hewstone, Rubin, & Willis, 2002), and those with strongest in-group affiliation also show the most prejudice ( Swim & Mallett, 2002). This becomes problematic when one group holds much more power than the other group or when resources among in-groups are not distributed equitably, as is currently the case in the United States.

Thus, it is quite common to have automatic biases and stereotypic attitudes about people in the out-group, and for most psychologists, individuals in racial/ethnic minority groups are in an out-group. The stereotype or the traits associated with the category become the predominant aspect of the category, even when disconfirming information is provided ( Kunda & Thagard, 1996) and particularly when there is some motivation to confirm the stereotype ( Kunda & Sinclair, 1999). These can influence interpretations of behavior and influence people's judgments about that behavior ( S. T. Fiske, 1998; Kunda & Thagard, 1996). Automatic biases and attitudes may also lead to miscommunication since normative behavior in one context may not necessarily be understood or valued in another. For example, addressing peers, clients, students, or research participants by their first names may be acceptable for some individuals but may be considered a sign of disrespect for many racial/ethnic minority individuals who are accustomed to more formal interpersonal relations with individuals in an authority role.

Although the associations between particular stereotypic attitudes and resulting behaviors have not been consistently found, group categorization has been shown to influence intergroup behavior including behavioral confirmation ( Stukas & Snyder, 2002), in-group favoritism ( Hewstone et al., 2002), and subtle forms of behaviors ( Crosby, Bromley, & Saxe, 1980). Psychologists are urged to become more aware of and sensitive to their own attitudes toward others as these attitudes may be more biased and culturally limiting then they think. It is sobering to note that even those who consciously hold egalitarian beliefs have shown unconscious endorsement of negative attitudes toward and stereotypes about groups ( Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). Thus, psychologists who describe themselves as holding egalitarian values and/or as professionals who promote social justice may also unconsciously hold negative attitudes or stereotypes.

Given these findings, many have advocated that improvements in intergroup relationships would occur if there was a de-emphasis on group membership. One way that this has been done is that those who have desired to improve intergroup relationships have taken a "color-blind" approach to interactions with individuals who are racially or ethnically different from them. In this approach, racial or ethnic differences are minimized, and emphasis is on the universal or "human" aspects of behavior. This has been the traditional focus in the United States on assimilation, with its melting pot metaphor that this is a nation of immigrants that together make one whole, without a focus on any one individual cultural group. Proponents of this approach suggest that alternative approaches that attend to differences can result in inequity by promoting, for instance, categorical thinking including preferences for in-groups and use of stereotypes when perceiving out-groups. In contrast, opponents to the color-blind approach have noted the differential power among racial/ethnic groups in the United States and have noted that ignoring group differences can lead to the maintenance of the status quo and assumptions that racial/ethnic minority groups share the same perspective as dominant group members ( Schofield, 1986; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999; Wolsko, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2000).

While the color-blind approach is based on an attempt to reduce inequities, social psychologists have provided evidence that a color-blind approach does not, in fact, lead to equitable treatment across groups. M. B. Brewer and Brown (1998), in their review of the literature, noted, "ignoring group differences often means that, by default, existing intergroup inequalities are perpetuated" (p. 583). For example, Schofield (1986) found that disregarding cultural differences in a school led to reestablishing segregation by ethnicity. Color-blind policies have also been documented as playing a role in differential employment practices ( M. B. Brewer & Brown, 1998). In these cases, the color-blind approach may have the effect of maintaining a status quo in which Whites have more power than do people of color. There is also some evidence that a color-blind approach is less accurate in perception of others than a multicultural approach. Wolsko et al. (2000), for example, found that when White students were instructed to adopt either a color-blind or a multicultural approach, those with a multicultural approach had stronger stereotypes of other ethnic groups as well as more positive regard for other groups. White students in a multicultural approach also had more accurate perceptions of differences due to race/ethnicity and used category information about both ethnicity and individual characteristics more than those in the color-blind condition. Wolsko et al. concluded,

When operating under a color-blind set of assumptions, social categories are viewed as negative information to be avoided, or suppressed.... In contrast, when operating under a multicultural set of assumptions, social categories are viewed as simply a consequence of cultural diversity. Failing to recognize and appreciate group similarities and differences is considered to inhibit more harmonious interactions between people from different backgrounds. ( Wolsko et al., 2000, p. 649)

Consistent with the multicultural approach used by Wolsko et al. (2000), culture-centered training and interventions acknowledge cultural differences and differing worldviews among cultures, as well as experiences of being stigmatized ( Crocker, Major, & Steele, 1998). This perspective is discussed more fully in Guideline 2. However, mere knowledge of a person's ethnic and racial background is not sufficient to be effective unless psychologists are cognizant of their positions as individuals with a worldview and that this worldview is brought to bear on interactions they have with others. As noted earlier, the worldviews of the client, student, or research participant and of the psychologist may be quite different, leading to communication problems or premature relationship termination. This does not argue that psychologists should shape their worldviews to be consistent with those of clients and students but rather that they have awareness of their own worldview, thereby enabling them to understand others' frame of cultural reference ( Ibrahim, 1999; Sodowsky & Kuo, 2001; Triandis & Singelis, 1998).

The literature on social categorization places all human interaction within a cultural context and encourages an understanding of the various factors that influence our perceptions of others. These premises suggest that the psychologist is a part of the multicultural equation; therefore, ongoing development of one's personal and cross-cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills is recommended. S. T. Fiske (1998) noted that automatic biases can be controlled with motivation, information, and appropriate mood. Given the above research, psychologists are encouraged to explore their worldview��"beliefs, values, and attitudes��"from a personal and professional perspective. They are encouraged to examine their potential preferences for within-group similarity and to realize that, once impressions are formed, these impressions are often resistant to disconfirmation ( Gilbert, 1998). Moreover, psychologists are encouraged to understand their own assumptions about ways to improve multicultural interactions and the potential issues associated with different approaches. Psychologists' self-awareness and appreciation of cultural, ethnic, and racial heritage may serve as a bridge in cross-cultural interactions, not necessarily highlighting but certainly not minimizing these factors as they attempt to build understanding ( Arredondo et al., 1996; Hofstede, 1980; Ibrahim, 1985; Jones, Lynch, Tenglund, & Gaertner, 2000; Locke, 1992; D. W. Sue, 1978; D. W. Sue & Sue, 1999; Triandis & Singelis, 1998).

The research on reducing stereotypic attitudes and biases suggests a number of strategies ( Hewstone et al., 2002) that psychologists may use. The first and most critical is awareness of those attitudes and values ( Devine, Plant, & Buswell, 2000; Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000). The second and third strategies, respectively, are effort and practice in changing the automatically favorable perceptions of in-group and negative perceptions of out-group. How this change occurs has been the subject of many years of empirical effort, with varying degrees of support ( Hewstone et al., 2002). It appears, though, that increased contact with other groups ( Pettigrew, 1998) is helpful, particularly if, in this contact, the individuals are of equal status and the psychologist is able to take the other's perspective ( Galinsky & Moskowitz, 2000) and has empathy for him or her ( Finlay & Stephan, 2000). Some strategies to do this have included actively seeing individuals as individuals rather than as members of a group, in effect decategorizing ( M. B. Brewer & Miller, 1988). Another strategy is to change the perception of us versus them to we or to recategorize the out-group as members of the in-group ( Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000). Both of these models have been shown to be effective, particularly under low-prejudice conditions and when the focus is on interpersonal communication ( M. B. Brewer & Brown, 1998; Hewstone et al., 2002). In addition, psychologists may want to actively increase their tolerance ( Greenberg et al., 1992) and trust of racial/ethnic groups ( Kramer, 1999).

Thus, psychologists are encouraged to be aware of their attitudes and to work to increase their contact with members of other racial/ethnic groups, building trust in others and increasing their tolerance for others. Since covert attempts to suppress automatic associations can backfire, with attempts at suppression resulting in increased use of stereotypes ( Macrae & Bodenhausen, 2000), psychologists are urged to become overtly aware of their attitudes toward others. It has been shown, though, that repeated attempts at suppression lead to improvements in automatic biases ( Plant & Devine, 1998). Such findings suggest that psychologists' efforts to change their attitudes and biases help to prevent those attitudes from detrimentally affecting their relationships with students, research participants, and clients who are racially/ethnically different from them.

Guideline 2: Psychologists are encouraged to recognize the importance of multicultural sensitivity/responsiveness to, knowledge of, and understanding about ethnically and racially different individuals

As noted in Guideline 1, membership in one group helps to shape perceptions of not only one's own group but also other groups. The links between those perceptions and attitudes are loyalty to and valuing of one's own group and devaluing the other group. The Minority Identity Development model ( Atkinson, Morten, & Sue, 1998) is one such example, applying to ethnic/racial minority individuals but also to others who have experienced historical oppression and marginalization. The devaluing of the other group occurs in a variety of ways, including the "ultimate attributional error" ( Pettigrew, 1979), the tendency to attribute positive behaviors to internal traits within one's own group but negative behaviors to the internal traits of the out-group (although Gilbert [1998] suggested that the ultimate attributional error may be culturally specific to individually oriented cultures, such as the United States). In the United States, then, the result may be positive, such as ensuring greater cooperation within one's group, or negative, such as the development of prejudice and stereotyping of other groups. Decades of research have been conducted and multiple theories have been developed to reduce prejudice toward other groups, most developing around the central premise that greater knowledge of and contact with the other groups will result in greater intercultural communication and less prejudice and stereotyping ( M. B. Brewer & Miller, 1988; Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000). M. B. Brewer and Miller (1988) delineated the factors that have been found to be successful in facilitating prejudice reduction through contact among groups: social and institutional support, sufficient frequency and duration for relationships to occur, equal status among participants, and cooperation. It appears, as discussed in Guideline 1, that attention to out-group stereotyping reduces prejudice ( K. J. Reynolds & Oakes, 2000), as does overt training to reduce stereotyping ( Kawakami, Dovidio, Moll, Hermsen, & Russin, 2000).

It is within this framework that psychologists are urged to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the worldview and perspectives of those racially and ethnically different from themselves. Psychologists are also encouraged to understand the stigmatizing aspects of being a member of a culturally devalued other group ( Crocker et al., 1998; Major et al., in press). This includes experience, sometimes daily, with overt experiences of prejudice and discrimination, awareness of the negative value of one's own group in the cultural hierarchy, the threat of one's behavior being found consistent with a racial/ethnic stereotype (stereotype threat), and the uncertainty (e.g., due to prejudice or individual behavior) of the attribution of stigmatizing comments and outcomes.

Understanding a client's or student's or research participant's worldview, including the effect of being in a stigmatized group, helps to understand his or her perspectives and behaviors. Racial and ethnic heritage, worldview, and life experiences as a result of this identity may affect such factors as the ways students present themselves in class, their learning style, their willingness to seek and trust the advice from and consultation with faculty, and their ability and interest in working with others on class projects ( Neville & Mobley, 2001). In the clinical realm, worldview and life experiences may affect how clients present symptoms to therapists, the meaning that illness has in their lives, their motivation and willingness to seek treatment and social support networks, and their perseverance in treatment ( Anderson, 1995; USDHHS, 2001). People of color are underrepresented in mental health services in large part because they are less likely to seek services ( Kessler et al., 1996; Zhang, Snowden, & Sue, 1998). The Surgeon General's report on culture and mental health ( USDHHS, 2001) strongly suggested, "cultural misunderstanding or communication problems between clients and therapists may prevent minority group members from using services and receiving appropriate care" (p. 42). One way to address this problem is for psychologists to gain greater knowledge and understanding of the cultural practices of clients.

Psychologists are encouraged to increase their knowledge of the multicultural bases of general psychological theories and information from a variety of cultures and cultural/racial perspectives and theories, such as Mestizo psychology ( Ramirez, 1998), psychology of Nigrescence ( W. E. Cross, 1978; Helms, 1990; Parham, 1989, 2001; Vandiver, Fhagen-Smith, Cokley, Cross, & Worrell, 2001; Worrell, Cross, & Vandiver, 2001), Latino/Hispanic frameworks ( Padilla, 1995; Ruiz, 1990; Santiago-Rivera, Arredondo, & Gallardo-Cooper, 2002), Native American models ( Cameron, in press; LaFromboise & Jackson, 1996), and biracial/multiracial models ( Root, 1992; Wehrly et al., 1999) specific to racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States. In addition, psychologists are encouraged to become knowledgeable about how history has been different for the major U.S. cultural groups. Past experiences in relation to the dominant culture, including slavery, Asian concentration camps, the American Indian holocaust, and the colonization of the major Latino groups on their previous Southwest homelands, contribute to some of the sociopolitical dynamics influencing worldview. Psychologists may also become knowledgeable about the psychological issues and gender-related concerns related to immigration and refugee status ( Cienfuegos & Monelli, 1983; Comas-Díaz & Jansen, 1995; Espin, 1997, 1999; Fullilove, 1996).

As noted in Guideline 1, one of the premises underlying these guidelines is that all interpersonal interactions occur within a multicultural context. To enhance sensitivity and understanding further, psychologists are encouraged to become knowledgeable about federal legislation including the Civil Rights Act (1964), affirmative action, and equal employment opportunity that were enacted to protect groups marginalized due to ethnicity, race, national origin, religion, age, and gender ( Crosby & Cordova, 1996). Concomitantly, psychologists are encouraged to understand the impact of the dismantling of affirmative action and of antibilingual education legislation on the lives of ethnic and racial minority groups ( Fine, Weis, Powell, & Wong, 1997; Glasser, 1988).

Built on variations of the social categorization models described in Guideline 1, ethnic and racial identity models, such as the Minority Identity Development model ( Atkinson et al., 1998) noted earlier, have also been developed for specific racial/ethnic minority groups ( W. E. Cross, 1978; Helms, 1990; Parham, 1989, 2001; Ruiz, 1990; Vandiver et al., 2001; Worrell et al., 2001). These models propose that members of racial/ethnic minority groups initially value the other group (dominant culture) and devalue their own culture, move to valuing their own group and devaluing the dominant culture, and integrate a value for both groups in a final stage. These models are key constructs in the cross-cultural domain, and psychologists are encouraged to understand how the individual's ethnic and racial identity status and development affect beliefs, emotions, behavior, and interaction styles ( M. B. Brewer & Brown, 1998; A. P. Fiske et al., 1998; Hays, 1995; Helms & Cook, 1999). This information will help psychologists to communicate more effectively with clients, peers, students, research participants, and organizations and to understand their coping responses ( Crocker et al., 1998; Major et al., in press; Swim & Mallet, 2002). Psychologists are encouraged to become knowledgeable about ethnic and racial identity research including research on Asian, Black, White, Mexican, Mestizo, minority, Native American, and biracial identity models ( Atkinson et al., 1998; W. E. Cross, 1991; Fouad & Brown, 2000; Helms, 1990; Hong & Ham, 2001; Phinney, 1991; Ramirez, 1998; Root, 1992; Ruiz, 1990; Sodowsky, Kuo-Jackson, & Loya, 1997; Wehrly et al., 1999). Additionally, psychologists may also learn about other theories of identity development that are not stage models, as well as other models that demonstrate the multidimensionality of individual identity across different historical contexts ( Oetting & Beauvais, 1990-1991; Oyserman, Gant, & Ager, 1995; Robinson & Howard-Hamilton, 2000; Root, 1999; Santiago-Rivera et al., 2002; Sellers, Smith, Shelton, Rowley, & Chavous, 1998; Thompson & Carter, 1997).

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One bias that I might hold against culturally different groups is that these groups are not as highly advanced technologically as my own group. In addition, due to this bias I sometimes perceive groups that are culturally different from my own as being intellectually inferior academically, as well and inferior character wise in some respects. An attitude that I might hold about cultural groups that are different from my home is that these individuals do not work as hard as my own cultural group is seeking to achieve their goals and dreams. A belief that I might hold about cultural groups that are different from my own is that these individuals are more primitive in their thinking, and therefore result to more animalistic behavior in their interactions with one another than those of my cultural group.

Attitudes and perceptions might affect my interactions with those who are culturally different than myself, by influencing me to interact with these individuals in a manner which I assume superiority over these individuals, and conduct myself in an arrogant manner. These attitudes and ...