09-29_Culture_Exists_1_-_6

09-29_Culture_Exists_1_-_6 - 9/15/2011 Culture exists...

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9/15/2011 1 Culture exists Three sources of variation Much variation is not environmental Much variation not due to institutions Technology is not environment Much variation is not genetic Much variation is not evoked Culture exists Three sources of variation Much variation is not environmental Much variation not due to institutions Technology is not environment Much variation is not genetic Much variation is not evoked Useful to partition sources of variation Genetic Variation = Differences between people because they inherit different genes from their parents. Environmental Variation = Differences between people because they live in different environments Cultural Variation = Differences between people because they have acquired different beliefs or values by teaching or imitation Important to distinguish proximate and ultimate explanations Proximate = immediate causes. Takes organisms structure as given Explain why such an organism behaves in a particular environment Ultimate = evolutionary causes Explains why organism has structure it does Why do birds fly south in the winter? Proximate: hormonal changes due to day length Ultimate: birds who migrate have higher fitness Both important Sources of variation are proximate causes E. g. why are a particular group of people subject to Type II diabetes? Genes that predispose them to diabetes An environment that provides ready access to sugar Culture that emphasizes body weight as a sign of status Sources of variation are proximate causes What causes differences in rates of Type II diabetes? Genes that predispose them to diabetes An environment with lots of food Culture that emphasizes body weight as a sign of status Answers are proximate because they do not explain why people in population have properties that they do Why are such genes common? Why do people respond to the environment the way that they do? Why are such beliefs common?
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9/15/2011 2 Why distinguish culture from environment Culture is information acquired by imitation, teaching and other forms of social learning Cultural information is stored in a population of brains and transmitted through time William Howard Taft 27 th President of the US Why distinguish culture from environment Culture is information acquired by imitation, teaching and other
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09-29_Culture_Exists_1_-_6 - 9/15/2011 Culture exists...

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