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CULTURE

Culture: Building a Conceptual Framework from Definitions

CULTURE


Preface The first time I read about human culture, culture was defined much like the following: “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.” I memorized the definition of culture without getting a good sense of its meaning. What I know now is that definitions memorized are easily forgotten - actually most likely to be forgotten. Memorizing was a common approach to learning. Now we know that without stopping and reflecting on the meaning of concepts like culture when they are introduced in a textbook is a very inadequate approach to reading to learn. If the learner does not grasp the central idea(s) (such as “culture”) underlying the ideas of a course, then the information learned is very shallow, which means that the learner is less likely to be able to think deeply about the ideas that are related to the concept- in this case the idea of culture. All the ideas in a course that are based on human culture depend on being able to relate that being learned in the course to the meaning of culture, which is one of those concepts for which the meaning gets deeper and deeper as you go through college. For example, in a sociology course, ideas, like knowledge, language, symbols, norms, values, beliefs, etc. need to be organized in the brain in an interrelated pattern. If that happens, then new related ideas are learned easier and more likely will become useful in the future when solving problems or making decisions. In the following pages, you will have the opportunity to take various definitions of “culture” and step back and reflect on their meanings. When the learner steps back and reflects on the meaning of concepts under consideration the information literally goes to those parts of the brain where it is more easily retrieved and is more useful in new situations. Memorizing, on the on other hand, sends information to parts of the brain where it is harder to retrieve and therefore less useful. In college, you many encounter many courses (see below) which study “human culture” and if you get a good idea early on about what “culture” is then you will be far ahead in any of these courses and also in other contexts such as your interaction with others The humanities are academic disciplines that study human culture. The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element —as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences. The humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and theatre. The humanities that are also sometimes regarded as social sciences include history, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies, law and linguistics. Human disciplines like history, cultural anthropology, and psychoanalysis study subject matters that the experimental method does not apply to—and instead mainly use the comparative method and comparative research. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanities


The Definition of Culture is Evolving As you read the definitions of culture, keep in mind that the definition of culture is evolving. Research on human culture is reshaping how we look at culture. As you read the definitions, feel free, just as sociologist, anthropologist and other experts do in disciplines that are built around human culture. One request, if you feel like challenging the thinking behind these definitions, don’t just say they are right or wrong. Back your insights with a rationale or justification you can support with logic or from the literature or research. In defining culture, there are no right or wrong definitions; there are just best interpretations of the experiences of the experts in the fields that are built on human culture. So, go ahead and question the definitions. Your predictions actually improve your learning whether you later predict what you find in your reading or not. One of the new and most exciting approaches to understanding culture is research on how the brain affects culture and culture affects the brain. Also, an area only mentioned in the following definitions is how genes affect culture and how culture affects genes. There is going to be an exciting revolution in how culture is interpreted and defined in the future. We are going to see leaps in our understanding of culture. The purpose of this booklet is to help learners considering or taking courses in disciplines that are built on human culture get a quick background on some of the major concepts in culture. Once again, the more related prior knowledge you can bring to your learning, the more deeply the meaning your brain will create and as a result the deeper the learning, so take advantage of this paper to get a head start. Keep in mind that “humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element�, which give you a great deal of latitude for forming your own opinions and testing them against what your will read.


C HAPTER 1

Defining Culture Take time to read the following link on “Elements of Culture: Explanation of the Major Elements That Define Culture” Contents: “Culture combines many elements to create a unique way of living for different people. In this lesson, we identify four of the elements that exist in every culture, albeit in different forms: symbols, language, values, and norms. We also differentiate between folkways and mores. http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/elements-of-cu lture-definitions-and-ideal-real-culture.html#transcript


S ECTION 1

Definitions of Culture Human culture has been defined as “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.” Some Other Definitions of Culture http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/choudhury/culture.ht ml • Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. • Culture is the systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people. •

Culture is communication, communication is cul-

ture. • Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person's learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.

• A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. • Culture is symbolic communication. Some of its symbols include a group's skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and motives. The meanings of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated in a society through its institutions. • Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other hand, as conditioning influences upon further action. • Culture is the sum of total of the learned behavior of a group of people that are generally considered to be the tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation. • Culture is a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another. (Texas A&M University)

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C HAPTER 2

Culture Defined and Expanded “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.�


S ECTION 1

First Definition “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.” What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: Socially: in a social manner; with respect to society; by or through society Society: people in general is thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values Social: : relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other Socially transmitted: Cultural transmission is the way a group of people within a society or culture tend to learn and pass on new information. Learning styles are greatly influenced by how a culture socializes with its children and young people. The key aspect of culture is that it is not passed on biologically from the parents to the offspring (note: new infor-

mation is now often including genetics - parent to offspring transmission of culture - more below andlater), but rather learned through experience and participation. The process by which a child acquires his or her own culture is referred to as "enculturation. " Cultural learning allows individuals to acquire skills that they would be unable to independently over the course of their lifetimes. https://www.boundless.com/sociology/understanding-educat ion/the-functionalist-perspective/cultural-transmission/ “An enormous amount of scientific research compels two fundamental conclusions about the human mind: The mind is the product of evolution; and the mind is shaped by culture. These two perspectives on the human mind are not incompatible, but, until recently, their compatibility has resisted rigorous scholarly inquiry. Evolutionary psychology documents many ways in which genetic adaptations govern the operations of the human mind. But evolutionary inquiries only occasionally grapple seriously with questions about human culture and cross-cultural differences. By contrast, cultural psychology documents many ways in which thought and behavior are shaped by different cultural experiences. But cultural inquires rarely consider evolutionary processes. Even after decades of intensive research, these two perspectives on human psychology have remained largely divorced from each other. But that is now changing - and that is what this book is about.” (Schaller, Evolution, Culture, and the Human Mind)

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“The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.”: Stop and reflect on what is socially transmitted: What behavior patterns did you learn as you were growing up? What makes up the arts?: the major art disciplines - drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, architecture, music, theatre, dance, cinema, and literature. How do the arts fit within the definition of culture? How did you learn the beliefs you have? What are the institutions in your culture? (Note: “Cultural institutions are elements within a culture/sub-culture that are perceived to be important to, or traditionally valued among, its members for their own identity. Examples of cultural institutions in modern Western society are museums, churches, schools, work and the print media. "Education" is a "social" institution, "post-secondary education" is a cultural institution, "high-school" is an instantiation of the institution within America.” (Wikipedia - note Wikipedia is not considered an authoritative source in many circles.) The human creates products and works, and these products and works are often socially transmitted. We could also add thoughts in this group, which are socially transmitted.

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S ECTION 2

Second Definition

“Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.” (Samovar & Porter, 2003, p. 8) What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: Notice that this definition expands what is included in social transmission, as well as the idea of transmission across generations through individual and group striving. Each of the concepts (knowledge, etc) are listed as cumulative deposits have a cultural definition (see on next page). The definition further lists some of the thoughts, as well as continues the idea of culture involving human products and works with material and possessions groups of people acquire.

Stop and reflect on what the following cultural concepts, definitions, or explanations mean: Knowledge: “Cultural knowledge is made up of culture general and culture specific knowledge. Learning specific things about a culture will serve you well but learning culture general frameworks will serve you even better. General categories facilitate our exploration of values, beliefs, and behaviors in any culture and provide a perspective for comparing and contrasting cultures. Culture specific knowledge builds on culture general knowledge with deeper and subtler interpretations of cultural patterns within a specific culture.” http://volunteeralberta.ab.ca/intersections/staff/building-cultural-knowledge/c ultural-knowledge

Beliefs:”The definition of a belief is an opinion or something that a person holds to be true.” (Your Dictionary) Values: “A culture's values are its ideas about what is good, right, fair, and just. Sociologists disagree, however, on how to conceptualize values. Conflict theory focuses on how values differ between groups within a culture, while functionalism focuses on the shared values within a culture.” (Cliff Notes) Attitudes: “A predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation. Attitude influences an individual's choice of action, and responses to challenges, incentives, and rewards (together called stimuli). (Business Dictionary) 8


Material Objects; “Material objects” include items with physical substance. They are primarily shaped or produced by human action, though objects created by nature can also play an important role in the history of human societies. For example, a coin is the product of human action. An animal horn is not, but it takes on meaning for humans if used as a drinking cup or a decorative or ritual object.” (World History Sources)

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S ECTION 3

Third Definition Here are Structural Definitions of Culture: “An historically transmitted pattern of meaning embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms” (Geertz, 1973, p. 89) “Culture is the systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people.” [i.e., national groups] (Gudykunst & Kim, 2003, p. 17) What do these definitions of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: Systems of Knowledge:

Fourth Definition “Culture is communication, communication is culture.” What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: The Relationship Between Communication and Culture The relationship between communication and culture is a very complex and intimate one. First, cultures are created through communication; that is, communication is the means of human interaction through which cultural characteristics— whether customs, roles, rules, rituals, laws, or other patterns—are created and shared. It is not so much that individuals set out to create a culture when they interact in relationships, groups, organizations, or societies, but rather that cultures are a natural by-product of social interaction. In a sense, cultures are the “residue” of social communication. Without communication and communication media, it would be impossible to preserve and pass along cultural characteristics from one place and time to another. One can say, therefore, that culture is created, shaped, transmitted, and learned through communication. The reverse is also the case; that is, communication practices are largely created, shaped, and transmitted by culture. 10


To understand the implications of this communicationculture relationship, it is necessary to think in terms of ongoing communication processes rather than a single communication event. For example, when a three-person group first meets, the members bring with them individual thought and behavioral patterns from previous communication experiences and from other cultures of which they are, or have been, a part. As individuals start to engage in communication with the other members of this new group, they begin to create a set of shared experiences and ways of talking about them. If the group continues to interact, a set of distinguishing history, patterns, customs, and rituals will evolve. Some of these cultural characteristics would be quite obvious and tangible, such that a new person joining the group would encounter ongoing cultural “rules” to which they would learn to conform through communication. New members would in turn influence the group culture in small, and sometimes large, ways as they become a part of it. In a reciprocal fashion, this reshaped culture shapes the communication practices of current and future group members. This is true with any culture; communication shapes culture, and culture shapes communication. http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/6491/Culture-and-Communication.h tml

Effective Communication: “Effective communication with people of different cultures is especially challenging. Cultures provide people with ways of thinking--ways of seeing, hearing, and interpreting the world. Thus the same words can mean different things to people from different cultures, even when they talk the "same" language. When the languages are different, and translation has to be used to communicate, the potential for misunderstandings increases. Stella Ting-Toomey describes three ways in which culture interferes with effective cross-cultural understanding. First is what she calls "cognitive constraints." These are the frames of reference or world views that provide a backdrop that all new information is compared to or inserted into. Second are "behavior constraints." Each culture has its own rules about proper behavior which affect verbal and nonverbal communication. Whether one looks the other person in the eye-or not; whether one says what one means overtly or talks around the issue; how close the people stand to each other when they are talking--all of these and many more are rules of politeness which differ from culture to culture. Ting-Toomey's third factor is "emotional constraints." Different cultures regulate the display of emotion differently. Some cultures get very emotional when they are debating an issue.  They yell, they cry, they exhibit their anger, fear, frustration, and other feelings openly. Other cultures try to keep their emotions hidden, exhibiting or sharing only the "rational" or factual aspects of the situation. 11


All of these differences tend to lead to communication problems. If the people involved are not aware of the potential for such problems, they are even more likely to fall victim to them, although it takes more than awareness to overcome these problems and communicate effectively across cultures.� (Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict)

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Fifth Definition “Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person's learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.” What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: Cultural behavior is behavior that is learned. “The difference between the culture of humans and the behaviors exhibited by others is that humans cannot survive without culture. Everything they see, touch, interact with and think about is cultural. It is the major adaptive mechanism for humans. They cannot survive winters in upper latitudes without protective clothing and shelter, which are provided culturally. They cannot obtain food without being taught how. Whereas other organisms that exhibit cultural behavior don't necessarily need it for the perpetuation of their species, they absolutely cannot live without it.” (Wikipedia - may not be a reliable source) “Culture is man-made, what is not man-made is not culture. By culture we mean an extrasomatic, temporal of things and events dependent upon symboling. Human being made cul-

ture and continue to make culture for his/her own survival and comfort. Thus human beings live by culture other than instinct in order to remain alive; but culture that human beings made and continue to make changes and model the behavior of its makers in some general and specific ways. Culture as a lived experience: Culture as a lived experience is invented or created, learned and borrowed, accumulated and transmitted from one generation to another through learning processes. Although the mind of a human being is capable of imagining new ideas, creating new cultural elements. Culture as a lived experience undergoes changes of content as well as structural form. New elements are being added; old elements are dropped out; some more normative may resist change or change only slowly; others expressing universal ethics and moral rules as well as functions of culture in human society remain always the same in all human societies. They are the cornerstones of a constitution of any human society simple or complex, rich or poor, large or small. Culture as a lived experience in the sense that its functions are encompassing all aspects of social life in any society (OchollaAyayo, 1980; White, 1960; Keesing 1960; Klolhol, 1963; Narol and Cohen 1970; Krober, 1948, 1976 among others). 13


* Culture as a lived experience in the sense that its functions fulfill both proximate and ultimate ends of human kind (Write 1966; Callahan, 1975). * Culture as a lived experience in the sense that every society has its own socio-cultural ideologies and ideology of each society stresses certain elements in its social structures more than the others and this form peculiar elements of cultural diversity as lived experience. * Culture is a lived experience in the sense that it is the source of living law, the law which dominates life itself even though it has not been posited in legal propositions (Ehrlich 1936:493). * Culture as a lived experience from which we measure our limitations and underdevelopment. * Culture as a lived experience has lessons to be learned if the right decisions have to be made. * Culture as a lived experience with propensity to resist. * Culture as lived experience have lessons that ought to be learned if wrong acts are to be avoided. * Culture as a lived experience that ought to mark as a starting point for our sustainable development (Ocholla-Ayayo, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001). * Culture as a lived experience from where we can make judgements of what is right and what is wrong. (Ocholla-Ayayo, 2002) 14


S ECTION 5

Sixth Definition “A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.” What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: In this definition two new thoughts have been introduced that may have been implied in the earlier definitions - “symbols” and “imitation.” It is implied that imitation is different from communication in this definition. Symbol: “A person, place, action, word, or thing that (by association, resemblance, or convention) represents something other than itself. (About Education) Symbols: Symbols and symbolic action “Symbols, like artifacts, are things which act as triggers to remind people in the culture of its rules, beliefs, etc. They act as a shorthand way to keep people aligned.

Symbols can also be used to indicate status within a culture. This includes clothing, office decor and so on. Status symbols signal to others to help them use the correct behavior with others in the hierarchy. They also lock in the users of the symbols into prescribed behaviors that are appropriate for their status and position. There may be many symbols around an organization, from pictures of products on the walls to the words and handshakes used in greeting cultural members from around the world.” (Changing Minds) Imitation: 
 “Imitation is broadly understood to be a powerful way to learn. It has been identified as crucial in the acquisition of cultural knowledge (Rogoff 1990) and language. Imitation by newborns has been demonstrated for adult facial expressions (Meltzoff and Moore 1983), head movements, and tongue protrusions (Meltzoff and Moore 1989). “The findings of imitation in human newborns highlighted predispositions to imitate facial and manual actions, vocalizations and emotionally 15


laden facial expressions” (Bard and Russell 1999, 93). Infant imitation involves perception and motor processes (Meltzoff and Moore 1999). The very early capacity to imitate makes possible imitation games in which the adult mirrors the child’s behavior, such as sticking out one’s tongue or matching the pitch of a sound the infant makes, and then the infant imitates back. This type of interaction builds over time as the infant and the adult add elements and variations in their imitation games.

ral mechanism of learning and communication which deserves to be at centre stage in developmental psychology.” (California department of Education)

Infants engage in both immediate imitation and delayed imitation. Immediate imitation occurs when infants observe and immediately attempt to copy or mimic behavior. For example, immediate imitation can be seen when an infant’s parent sticks out his tongue and the infant sticks out his tongue in response. As infants develop, they are able to engage in delayed imitation, repeating the behavior of others at a later time after having observed it. An example of delayed imitation is a child reenacting part of a parent’s exercise routine, such as lifting a block several times as if it were a weight. Butterworth (1999, 63) sums up the importance of early imitation in the following manner: “Modern research has shown imitation to be a natu16


S ECTION 6

Seventh Definition “Culture is symbolic communication. Some of its symbols include a group's skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and motives. The meanings of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated in a society through its institutions.” What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: This definition extends the concepts of symbols and communication. Symbolic Communication: “The symbolic systems that people use to capture and communicate their experiences form the basis of shared cultures. KEY POINTS A symbol is any object, typically material, which is meant to represent another (usually abstract), even if there is no meaningful relationship. Culture is based on a shared set of symbols and meanings. Symbolic culture enables human communication and must be taught.

Symbolic culture is more malleable and adaptable than biological evolution. The belief that culture is symbolically coded and can be taught from one person to another means that cultures, although bounded, can change. According to sociologists, symbols make up one of the 5 key elements of culture; the other key elements are language, values, beliefs, and norms.” Examples: “Although language is perhaps the most obvious system of symbols we use to communicate, many things we do carry symbolic meaning. Think, for example, of the way you dress and what it means to other people. The way you dress could symbolically communicate to others that you care about academics or that you are a fan of your school's football team, or it might communicate that you have adopted an anarchist philosophy or are a fan of punk music. In certain urban environments, the symbolic meaning of people's clothes can signal gang affiliation. Other gang members use these symbolic sartorial signals to recognize enemies and allies.

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Anthropologists have argued that, through the course of their evolution, human beings evolved a universal human capacity to classify experiences, and encode and communicate them symbolically, such as with written language . Since these symbolic systems were learned and taught, they began to develop independently of biological evolution (in other words, one human being can learn a belief, value, or way of doing something from another, even if they are not biologically related). That this capacity for symbolic thinking and social learning is a product of human evolution confounds older arguments about nature versus nurture.� (Boundless)

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S ECTION 7

Eighth Definition “Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other hand, as conditioning influences upon further action.”

ing a repertoire of “tool kit” of habits, skills, and styles from which people construct “strategies of action.” (Swidler, Culture in Action: Culture and action) This is a debatable ideafeel free to do so. “Often people from one culture are surprised by the decisions that people from other cultures make. Such surprises arise when people are unaware of the factors that people in another culture consider when evaluating the attractiveness of an action. This lack of awareness can lead to decisions that undermine the cohesiveness of multi-cultural coalitions.” (Noble, Cultural Influences in Decision Making)

What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: As you can see, some definitions of culture start to become more complex. In this definition, “culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other hand, as conditioning influences upon further action.” “Culture influences action not by providing the ultimate values toward which action is oriented, but by shap19


S ECTION 8

Ninth Definition “Culture is a collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.” (Texas A&M University) What does this definition of culture mean? Stop and reflect on what the following definitions or explanations mean: This is one of the most intriguing and challenging definitions of culture. This definition includes most of the concepts making up the other definitions and clearly places the mind front and center. In this definition of culture, most of the other concepts of culture are collectively programming the mind to see differences in other, “There is clear evidence that sustained experiences may affect both brain structure and function. Thus, it is quite reasonable to posit that sustained exposure to a set of cultural experiences and behavioral practices will affect neural structure and function. The burgeoning field of cultural psychology has often demonstrated the subtle differences in the way individuals process information—differences that appear to be a product of cultural experiences. (Perspectives of Psychological Science) http://pps.sagepub.com/content/5/4/391.abstract

Consider this paper from the Association of Psychological Science, The Mind in the World: Culture and the Brain. “How the “outside” affects the “inside” is at the heart of many of the deepest psychological questions. In this fast-paced survey of research on how culture shapes cognition, Nalini Ambady examines the neural evidence for socio-cultural influences on thinking, judgment, and behavior. She does this by giving us numerous examples of group differences in core human capacities that are shaped by how “one’s people” engage socially.  Both the structure and function of the human brain throughout its development are shaped by the environment. The social environment, in turn, is shaped by culture. The emerging field of cultural neuroscience examines how the interplay and mutual constitution between neural and cultural forces gives rise to different patterns of behavior, perception, and cognition. The main goal of this emerging, young field is to understand how culture, which is comprised of behaviors, values, symbols, meaning systems, communication systems, rules, and conventions, is shaped by and in turn shapes the mind and brains of individuals in the culture. In order to accomplish this goal, state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques are being used to not only show how widely researched behavioral differences are manifested in the brain but also to highlight where such cultural differences are located. Research in this field has begun to rapidly uncover how psychological processes thought to be universal are affected by cultural experience and exposure at both the behavioral and neural levels. 20


Thus, recent advances from cultural neuroscience have demonstrated how even the most basic of functions, with expected similar behavioral outcomes across cultures, can have underlying differences at the level of the neuron.

studies that have found that people from collectivist cultures, such as China, think of themselves as deeply connected to other people in their lives, while Americans adhere to a strong sense of individuality.

The take-home message here is that our brains actively absorb the regularities in our cultural environments. The representations created in the brain in turn influence how we interact with and shape our own environments. Culture impacts the way in which the brain is wired and activated, but the brain is malleable. Much like the changing tide can erode a footprint in the sand, so too can changed experience over time reshape these brain activations. In this sense, the brain can be seen as a “cultural sponge” of sorts, absorbing the regularities of our surrounding physical and social environments. “

The study also shows the power of cultural neuroscience, the growing field that uses brain-imaging technology to deepen the understanding of how environment and beliefs can shape mental function. Barely heard of just five years ago, the field has become a vibrant area of research, and the University of Michigan, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Emory University have created cultural neuroscience centers. In addition, in April a cultural neuroscience meeting at the University of Michigan attracted such psychology luminaries as Hazel Markus, PhD, Michael Posner, PhD, Steve Suomi, PhD, and Claude Steele, PhD, to discuss their work in the context of cultural neuroscience.” (American Psychological association)

To read the whole paper, go to: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2011/may -june-11/the-mind-in-the-world-culture-and-the-brain.html

“When an American thinks about whether he is honest, his brain activity looks very different than when he thinks about whether another person is honest, even a close relative. That’s not true for Chinese people. When a Chinese man evaluates whether he is honest, his brain activity looks almost identical to when he is thinking about whether his mother is honest.

To read the whole paper, go to: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/11/neuroscience.aspx

That finding — that American and Chinese brains function differently when considering traits of themselves versus traits of others (Neuroimage, Vol. 34, No. 3) — supports behavioral 21


C HAPTER 3

Videos This chapter provides links to video on culture.


Videos on Culture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVqDQ7mA2nM How art gives shape to cultural change

What is Culture? Videos

https://www.ted.com/talks/thelma_golden_how_art_gives_ shape_to_cultural_change

Elements of Culture: Explanation of the Major Elements That Define Culture

What is Culture?

http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/elements-of-cu lture-definitions-and-ideal-real-culture.html#lesson What is Culture?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1yUjNpp_ps What is Culture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai9pRv_t3y8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o32l-_U6nGY Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Culture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaOJ71czAGQ What is Culture? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSCFxDKJWwo What is Culture? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_dbaugeRh8 Cultural Differences National Geographic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT0kzF4A-WQ

What's So Different About Cultures Anyway? 23


Culture defined pdf pdf