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cult ch1 notes - CHAPTER 1 CULTURE AND HUMAN NATURE Humans...

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CHAPTER 1 – CULTURE AND HUMAN NATURE Humans have one adaptation that compensates for all that we lack, culture; rely on culture more than any other species, and it is our reliance on culture that has allowed us to succeed in such diverse environments; reliance on culture has important and profound implications for our thoughts and behaviors; cultural psychology is the field that studies those implications A Psychology for a Cultural Species Humans are a cultural species, people from different cultures also differ in their psychology; psychological processes are shaped by experiences ; because people in different cultures have many different experiences, we should then expect differences in many ways that they think Although experiences shape psychological processes, they clearly do not determine them; psychological processes are constrained and afforded by the neurological structures that underlie them; because the biology of the brain is virtually identical around the world, people from all cultures share the same constraints and affordances of the universal human brain; to what extent should ways of thinking look similar around the world because people share a universal brain, and to what extent should they look different because people have divergent experiences? Tension between universal and culturally variable psychologies What Is Culture? “culture” mean two different things Particular kind of information; any kind of information that is acquired from other members of one’s species through social learning that is capable of affecting an individual’s behaviors; any kind of idea, belief, technology, habit, or practice that is acquired through learning from others Particular group of individuals; people who are existing within some kind of shared context, people within a given culture are exposed to many of the same cultural ideas; might attend the same cultural institutions, engage in similar cultural practices, see the same advertisements, read the same newspapers, and have conversations with each other on a day-to-day basis Challenges with thinking about groups of people as constituting cultures boundaries of cultures are not always clear-cut, an individual might be exposed to cultural ideas that emerge from distant locations, a shorthand practice that is used in many studies described in this book is to look at nationality as a very rough indicator of culture; fluid nature of cultural boundaries weaken researchers’ abilities to find differences between cultures, but when such differences are found, despite the fluid nature of the boundaries, evidence that cultures do differ in their psychological tendencies cultures change over time, some shared cultural information disappears as new habits replace the old(although much cultural information persists across time as well); cultures are thus not static entities but are dynamic and ever-changing there is much variability among individuals that belong to the same culture; people inherit distinct
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This note was uploaded on 01/16/2012 for the course PSYC 307 taught by Professor Stevenheine during the Winter '11 term at UBC.

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cult ch1 notes - CHAPTER 1 CULTURE AND HUMAN NATURE Humans...

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