Outline and Lecture Notes of Chapter 4.doc

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Outline and Lecture Notes of Chapter 4 Cultural Patterns and Communication Foundations I. Defining Cultural Patterns A. Cultural patterns are defined as shared beliefs, values, norms, and social practices that are stable over time and that lead to roughly similar behaviors across similar situations. B. Cultural patterns provide a basic set of standards that guide thought and action. 1. While some aspects of mental programming are individual, there are some that are widely shared only by members of a particular group or culture. 2. Collective programs can be understood only in the context of a particular culture. C. Perception and Cultural Patterns 1. Perception is selective. We only select information through our perceptual screen to our conscious mind, which is usually determined by our cultural pattern. 2. Cultural patterns are learned but not so much consciously taught as unconsciously experienced; they are taught at a young age and are reinforced continuously. Culture teaches us the meaning of most of our experience. Consider This: Bagby (1957) conducted an experiment to demonstrate how culture affects perception and communication. Mexican children from a rural area and children from European American culture in the United States viewed, for a split second, a stereogram in which one eye was exposed to a baseball game while the other was exposed to a bullfight. Overall, the children reported seeing the scene that corresponded to their culture. Mexican children tended to report seeing the bullfight, and American children tended to report the baseball game. Children made selections based on their culture background and they inclined to see and to report what was most familiar. Bagby, J.W. (1957).A Cross- Cultural Study of Perceptual Predominance in Binocular Rivalry. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 54, 331-334. 1
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II. Components of Cultural Patterns A. A belief is an idea that people assume to be true about the world (e.g. the world is round). 1. Beliefs are a set of learned interpretations that cultural members use to decide what is and is not logical and correct. 2. Beliefs range from ideas that are central to a person’s sense of self to ideas that are more peripheral. a. Central beliefs p.54 b. Less central beliefs p.54 c. Peripheral beliefs refer to matters of personal taste. 3. Culturally shared beliefs are so fundamental to assumptions about what the world is like and how the world operates that they are typically unnoticed and you do not question them or even demand proof. Consider This: Beliefs form an important part of a cultural group’s worldview and, once adopted, can be very difficult to change. They can also be difficult for non-group member to accept or understand. In Iceland, a large enough portion of the population accepts—or at least fails to discount—the existence of elves. These elves, known as huldufólk , live in another dimension and are usually invisible to the naked eye. They also don’t like interference with their land and will sabotage construction projects unless a specially
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