PSY311chapter5

PSY311chapter5 - 1 How are We Influenced by Human Nature and Cultural Diversity Evolutionary psychology The study of the evolution of cognition and

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1 How are We Influenced by Human Nature and Cultural Diversity? Evolutionary psychology: The study of the evolution of cognition and behavior using principles of natural selection Natural selection: evolutionary process by which heritable traits that best enable organisms to survive and reproduce in particular environments are passed to ensuing generations Our universal ability to adapt and evolve to environments is also one reason for our cultural diversity We are shaped by nature and nurture Norms: Expected Behavior Norms: standards for accepted and expected behavior; Norms prescribe “proper behavior”; what most others do—what is normal Norms often restrain and control us so subtly we hardly notice Universal friendship norms respect friend’s privacy make eye contact while talking don’t divulge things said in confidence Universal trait dimensions Based on the “Big Five” personality dimensions—whether you are more or less stable, outgoing, open, agreeable, and conscientious—a person’s personality can be pretty accurately described no matter where you live People tend to overestimate the extent to which they differ from others Universal Social Belief Dimensions People’s adherence to the “Big Five Social Beliefs” appears to guide their living Cynicism – “powerful people tend to exploit others” Social Complexity – “One has to deal with matters according to the specific circumstances” Reward for Application – “One will succeed if he/she really tries” Spirituality – “Religious faith contributes to good mental health” Fate Control – “Fate determines one’s success and failures” Universal Status Norms
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2 Forms of address communicate not only social distance and social status Whenever people form status hierarchies, they also talk to higher-status people in the respectful way they often talk to strangers and they talk to lower-status people in the more familiar, first-name way they speak to friends i.e. patients call their physicians Dr. “So and So” while physicians may refer to patients using first names (students/professors address each other similarly) i.e. most languages have two forms of the pronoun “you”, a respectful form and a familiar form like the French “vous” and “tu” In European relationships, a couple may begin with the polite, formal “you” and then progress to the more intimate “you” Also, often times it is the person of higher-status in the
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This note was uploaded on 08/27/2008 for the course PSY 311 taught by Professor Nacoste during the Fall '08 term at N.C. State.

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PSY311chapter5 - 1 How are We Influenced by Human Nature and Cultural Diversity Evolutionary psychology The study of the evolution of cognition and

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