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Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism in group and out group

The video discusses ethnocentrism, cultural relativism, and group dynamics. Ethnocentrism is judging another culture from our own, while cultural relativism views cultures as equally valid. It also explores 'in' and 'out' groups, in-group favoritism, out-group derogation, and group polarization. These concepts are crucial for understanding cultural differences and group behavior. Created by Arshya Vahabzadeh.

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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Jorge R. Martinez Perez-Tejada
    how, as one of the many species sharing this planet, can we overcome this? This is the basic underlying social psychology that gives raise to discrimination of any form. How could we work towards the world John Lenon once imagined, one without in and out-groups?
    (2 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user tian1di2 jax
      i think if people visited other cultures more often than once for a summer vacation then they'd understand the plight of others better. it's very difficult to hate face to face.
      discrimination/prejudice usually comes from isolation so the more interaction, the better to achieve or at least sympathize with foreign cultures.
      (43 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Leah Thomas
    Can ethnocentrism apply to a culture that is not your own? For example, if an American really loves the Italian culture, and judges the way that Americans cook and eat their food as being worse than the way Italians do, is that ethnocentrism?
    (3 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Darmon
      Good question! Yes, there is a thought pattern analogous to ethnocentrism through which the individual perceives another culture(s) to be superior to their own; this is termed "xenocentrism" rather than being considered a type of ethnocentrism.
      (10 votes)
  • leaf green style avatar for user daud.imhotep
    What type of behavior did Rachel Dolezal present? She did not display in-group favoritism nor out-group derogation. Is there a name for being derogatory toward one's in-group and displaying favoritism for one's out-group?
    (5 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Cesar
    I guess we could see culture a an ideology. This ideology can be dissected into smaller ideologies, or a set of characteristics that form what we call culture.
    What happens when an ideology, that has been normalized as culture for a society is "bad"? You could argue that bad is relative, what my culture considers bad could not be bad for other.
    The main point is we can see other cultures as "inferior or superiors", or maybe just "different" but where is the line when certain practices that a particular culture have imbedded in their ideology is damaging other people or animals? Is it correct, just because is other culture and we should respect it, to accept all cultures? is it bad just when it starts affecting our "in group"? when is it adequate to try to change this particular culture with "bad" practices? and if I try to change it, do I become automatically Xenophobic and intolerant? Where is the line?
    (3 votes)
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    • duskpin seedling style avatar for user EC S
      That is a very good question. Anthropologists have debated this for years. When you think about it, there is no line. As you said, a culture only becomes "bad" when it affects the "in-group." It goes both ways—what Americans may view as perfectly normal and "correct" may seem shameful to other cultures.

      One such example is monogamy. To Americans, it only seems right for a man to marry one woman. However, in Tibet, women would view this as disgraceful. How selfish would a wife have to be, they'd say, to restrict her husband to just one partner? To them, female companionship is the key to a relationship. But from an American standpoint, it would be hard for an American woman to grasp how a Tibetan woman could let her husband have multiple partners without feeling jealous or scorned.

      Basically, there is really no such thing as inherently "bad" culture. Culture only seems "bad" once someone compares it to their own culture. Also, we shouldn't attempt to force our own culture onto other cultures in an attempt to change their "wrong" practices. I know I wouldn't appreciate it if someone from Tibet tried to force me or my spouse to have multiple partners, so why should we interfere with their culture?
      (1 vote)
  • hopper jumping style avatar for user Eric
    Is it by definition that the connections between members of the in-group are stronger than connections between members of the out-group?
    (2 votes)
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  • ohnoes default style avatar for user a.m.ahkee
    Whys is the change in outgroup more extreme (neutral to x)?
    (1 vote)
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    • female robot ada style avatar for user lemoak14
      It's the difference between the in-group favoritism and the out-group derogation. For in-group favoritism, it's simply a matter of how we feel about our own group (we favor them). We don't really care about other groups. Out-group derogation, on the other hand, is feeling negatively about groups outside of our own. Knowing the definition of derogation can help; it is "the perception or treatment of someone or something as being of little worth." We still feel good about our own group, but now we are actively disliking other groups.
      (3 votes)
  • starky ultimate style avatar for user Averatu
    This even happens within cultures. My parents generation eat sheep's head, brain and all, as a delicacy, yet my generation will generally not touch it.
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Kashish
    Is the formation of in-groups and out-groups a direct consequence of ethnocentrism?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user jose.zunigawsuedu
    Are a lot of these theories backed by studies? It seems to me the terminology in the past theories were made from certain top figures of psychology. Who comes up with these theories? It would help to see what role these theories played in history and how they built off each other. Such as Eriksons psychosocial theory built off of Freuds psychosexual theory. Just wondering.
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Vidya
    Is it correct to say that ethnocentrism is when you show in-group favoritism and out-group bias,
    while cultural relativism is recognizing and combating the out-group bias?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Okay, so you go over to a friend's house and you get served up a plate of crispy fried insects. How do you respond to this? How you respond really depends on whether you normally eat crispy fried insects or not. Is it part of your culture to have this dish? If it isn't, let us think of the different ways in which you can react. One of the ways you can react is to say, "Oh, my gosh, this is disgusting! "This is wrong, I don't want anything to do with this." One of the things that we're doing here is that we're judging your friend's culture from the position of your own culture. What's the alternative way that we can actually judge a situation? One of the other things we can say is, "Yeah, you know what? "I can see why he likes this dish." It might not be for me, but I can see why he likes it. What are we doing here? We are actually, again, assessing and judging our friend's culture, but from a different viewpoint. We're judging and understanding their culture from within their culture. These different perspectives outlined ... That's why I drew this semicircle that you can see here, because, really, how we view these fried insects, how we view them is down to our own, the kind of cultural perspective that we take. These different cultural perspectives actually have their own terms. One term that I want, if we're going to judge another person's culture from our own culture, and really say things like, this is disgusting, this is right or this is wrong, whether it's to do with food, religion, politics, or any customs or rituals, or anything else, what we're doing is we're becoming very ethnocentric. What being ethnocentric means is that we are really judging our own culture to be superior to that of others. On the opposite side, as we start to look at cultural events, whether it's the food or any other cultural event, or cultural phenomenon, from a perspective of the other person's culture, we start to move into the concept of cultural relativism. What cultural relativism means, is that there's no right, absolute right or wrong, but we have different cultures who are themselves valid. Cultural relativism can somewhat falter if someone uses it to conduct activities that really violate the rights and dignity of our fellow human beings, no matter what culture they are in or from. That's something important for us to also consider. Now, based on our insect dish, I want to talk to you a little bit about groups. What I want to do is talk to you about groups by mentioning ... I want to talk to you about groups and how groups are formed. So, let us take this first group over here. This group will think that insects are pests and they're not to be eaten. Let's draw a few different people that could be part of this group. The second group really thinks of insects as dinner. Let's draw a few of them over here. The reason why groups form is that people within groups share some kind of psychological connection with their peers, so that could be related to their love of insect dishes or it could be related to politics, it could be related to spirituality, any other cultural issues. It could relate to anything at all, in fact. Let us label these groups. If we are actually in this group ourselves, let's label this "Us" and let's label the dinner group "Them." Let's use some more formal titles. Instead of saying "Us" we can actually refer to this as the "in" group, the group that we are in, and the group that we are kind of psychologically most connected with. "Them" becomes something called the "out" group. What we know is that people in the "in" group demonstrate a lot stronger interactions than people who are in the "out" group, then their interactions with people who are in a different, in the "out," so these interactions are weaker. The other thing is that not only are these interactions stronger, or more common, but they may potentially be more influential as well. But certain funny things can kind of happen in groups. One of the things that can happen is we can have something happen called in group favoritism. What do I mean by that? In in group favoritism, we tend to favor people who are in our group, who share whatever this psychological attribute is that we feel connected to. In this circumstance, we are very friendly towards the people in our "in" group. But what about the people outside? What about the "Them," the "out" group? What do we do towards them? With the people in the "out" group, we are actually dead set neutral. We don't extend them the favor. We don't go out of our way to help. We're not nasty or horrible or unkind, we just don't give them the favors that we do to our "in" group. Now, there's another phenomenon where we might be a little bit nastier to the "out" group, and that's called out group derogation. In out group derogation what we find is that, again, we are super-friendly and super-nice to our "in" group, but when it comes to the "out" group, we are not so friendly. We're actually mean. We might actually discriminate. This tends to happen, out group derogation can actually happen if we feel that the "out" group is in some way threatening to undermine or stop our "in" group from achieving success. One last thing I wanted to mention is the idea of group polarization. This is a phenomenon where the decision-making machine, that is the group, makes decisions that are more extreme than any of the individual members would be inclined to make. The group's opinions and actions and decision-making may actually become more extreme than what their individual members wanted. This can effectively turbo charge any of these other processes that are going on, and also turbo charge the groups' viewpoints. For example, if the group thinks insects are pests, are they going to set up a fumigation society for the local neighborhood? I mean, I'm saying that in jest, but, you know, I hope the point is made.