The Top 10 Theories and Concepts of Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior

Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior is integrated into multiple areas of the EPPP. Social Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and Clinical Psychology all touch on this topic. This area of the exam comes up quite frequently, so you will want to feel confident in the theories, stages of development, content areas, and examples provided in the study material. To start your review, here are the top 10 theories and concepts you want to be sure to be familiar with for this section of the exam:

1. Psychotherapy with members of diverse populations

How you approach treatment varies significantly depending on the culture with which your client identifies. While Asian Americans might prefer a solution-focused approach to treatment, Latino Americans lend well to a multi-model approach to treatment. Understanding your client within the context of the culture they are a part of impacts treatment. When working with American Indians/Alaskan Natives, elders should be included as well as a respect and understanding for historical events impacting relationships with white Americans.

2. Sexual Stigma, Heterosexism, and Sexual Prejudice

These terms are often used interchangeably but do not mean the same thing. Be able to know each definition and how they differ.

3. Acculturation

There are 4 categories one might occupy regarding their level of acculturation: integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalization. What are the characteristics for a person in each category and how might you identify them? Be able to identify where someone is in terms of their level of acculturation if presented with a case example.

4. Emic vs. Etic Orientation

Be able to understand the difference between an emic and etic orientation. When looking at traditional psychological theories, understand that they pull from an etic orientation, or a universal (culture-general) orientation that does not take specific cultural theories, concepts, and research into consideration.

5. Adverse Impact (80% rule)

Adverse impact happens when use of a procedure results in substantially different selection/placement/promotion outcomes for members of that group. To manage this, the 80% rule (a mathematical calculation) is used to determine if a procedure is having an adverse impact.

6. Work Teams and Groups

What happens in a group setting and how individuals interact in workplace settings are topics that are addressed on the EPPP exam. Be able to understand concepts and terms including idiosyncrasy credits, social loafing, social facilitation and inhibition, centralized and decentralized networks, groupthink, group polarization, and Tuckman’s and Jensen’s five stages of group development.

7. Social Perception and Cognition

How someone comes to understand and view their world on a cognitive level impacts perception of others. This is demonstrated through topics you can be expected to know for the exam such as impression formation, attributional bias, cognitive errors, and heuristics. There are several that fall into each category so you will want to be familiar with how they differ. For example, know how representativeness heuristic and availability heuristic differ.

8. Interpersonal Relationships

So much of understanding social psychology is understanding relationship and how we operate within the context of our relationships. Therefore, several topics are covered that address our relationships with others, particularly with romantic partners. Some areas to study might include affiliation, attraction, emotion-in-relationships model, social exchange theory, and equity theory.

9. The Self in Social Context

How we view ourselves is very much dependent on our social context. There are several interesting theories covered on the EPPP to help understand how we come to form our self-concept (self-schemas, self-perception theory, social comparison theory, self-verification theory). This then impacts self-presentation through self-monitoring and self-handicapping. Finally, it is not only how we present ourselves to the world but also how we view our level of control (locus of control). Be able to understand all of the concepts related to the self in social context along with examples as a means of remembering this material.

10. Social Influence

Social Influence is a topic that has been studied and explored in depth by some of the most well-known psychological research that explores conformity, compliance, and obedience. What you will be expected to know is the differences in types of social influence, how we respond to social influence, and the multiple bases of social power.

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