Sociocultural approach

The sociocultural approach is one of the units in the core. The unit focuses on the role of environmental factors and other people have an effect on our behaviour. The IB does not specifically distinguish between social and cultural factors, as they are often the same.

This section contains activities and curriculum tips, teaching ideas, revision strategies, key studies, a question bank and writing samples for different SAQs and ERQs.

Learning objectives

The curriculum does not have clearly defined learning objectives, but the questions are set by using the first two columns of the grid in the curriculum guide.  Below you will find the key areas of understanding that students must address within the unit.


  • Ethical considerations related to research studies in the sociocultural approach to studying behaviour.
  • How and why particular research methods are used in the sociocultural approach.
  • Evaluation of research methods used to study groups and culture.

Individuals and groups

  • Social Identity Theory
  • Social Cognitive Learning Theory
  • Stereotypes - origins and effects

Culture, behaviour and cognition

  • Cultural dimensions (only one is required)
  • Effect of culture on behaviour
  • Effect of culture on cognition
  • Enculturation
  • Acculturation

HL Extension: Effects of globalization on behaviour

  • How globalization may affect behaviour
  • Interaction of local and global influences on behaviour
  • Research methods used to study the influence of globalization on behaviour.
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