Ethnocentric Limitations of Cognitive Theory Analytical Essay by Spirittalk

Looks at the ethnocentric limitations of the behavioral and social aspects of cognitive theory.
# 150507 | 1,035 words | 7 sources | APA | 2012 | US
Published on Feb 28, 2012 in Psychology (Social) , Psychology (Theory) , Sociology (Multiculturalism)

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This paper explains that the ethnocentric beliefs held by the individual or cultural group puts limitations on the behavioral and social cognitive theory. Next, the author discuses these limitations, which include believing that one's own culture, status, gender, race or any other ethnic difference is superior, perceiving threats or reinforcements of 'out-group' cultural stereotypes and difficulty in making a distinction between patriotism and ethnocentric behaviors. The paper relates that vicarious learning and peer pressure have a large influence upon the individual's behavior that results in social spillover, which affects one's ability to adapt to a growing multicultural society.

Table of Contents:
Ethnocentric Limitations
Vicarious Learning
Peer Pressure

From the Paper:

"Another ethnocentric limitation to the behavioral/social cognitive theory comes from the automatic categorization based on 'out-group' cultural stereotypes as introduced through labels. This occurs whenever introducing perceived threats or reinforcements to the individual or group of individuals. These threats and reinforcements come from the ethnic differences observed. According to Axelrod and Hammond (2003), "People validate their membership in an ethnic group by pointing to some set of attributes, usually overt cultural traits, that members believe they share in common." This creates the out-group categorization that creates hostilities and other ethnocentric limitations within the behavioral/social cognitive theory. Individuals learn in-group favoritism through the social reinforcements and observed social behaviors.
"A third ethnocentric limitation found with behavioral/social cognitive theory involves the difficulty in making a distinction between patriotism and ethnocentric behaviors meant to develop one's identity within an in-group. The behavioral and social cognitive theory links ethnocentricity to individual development and formation. However, little distinction exists between patriotic behaviors and those behaviors deemed ethnocentric. One may appear ethnocentric when performing patriotic behaviors to an out-group because the patriotic behavior benefits the in-group; this creates confusion between the behaviors and social cognitive development within individuals.

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Axelrod, R., & Hammond, R. A. (2003). The evolution of ethnocentric behavior. Retrieved from
  • Dong, Q., Day, K. D., & Collaco, C. M. (n.d.). Overcoming ethnocentrism through developing intercultural communication sensitivity and multiculturalism. Human Communication. A Publication of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association, 11(1), 27-38. Retrieved from,%20Randall%20Koper%20&%20Chris%20Collaco.pdf
  • Hughes, S. (2011). The Dominance of Associative Theorizing in Implicit Attitude Research: Propositional and Behavioral Alternatives. Psychological Record, 61(3), 465. Wade, M., & Schneberger, S. (2006). Theories used in IS research - Social cognitve theory. Retrieved from
  • Kaduvettoor, A., O'Shaughnessy, T., Mori, Y., Beverly, C., Weatherford, R. D., & Ladany, N. (2009). Helpful and hindering multicultural events in group supervision: Climate and multicultural competence. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(6), 786-820. doi:10.1177/0011000009333984
  • Mittone, L., & Ploner, M. (2011). Peer pressure, social spillovers, and reciprocity: An experimental analysis. Experimental Economics, 14(2), 203-222. doi:10.1007/s10683-010-9263-3

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Ethnocentric Limitations of Cognitive Theory (2012, February 28) Retrieved June 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Ethnocentric Limitations of Cognitive Theory" 28 February 2012. Web. 21 June. 2021. <>