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Lecture 3

Week 3 - Development and Socialization.docx

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University of Waterloo
Igor Grossmann

Week 3: Development and Socialization Overriding Themes - Cultural norms (and cultural differences) come about as the result of the different ways that people are socialized into the world Out of Many, One Cultural Life - Despite entering the world with the ability to internalize any cultural world, we generally end up internalizing one - Is this due to restricted exposure, or general inability to internalize multiple worlds? Sensitive Periods Role of Sensitive Periods - Sensitive period: span of organism’s life when it can gain a new skill relatively easily o Skill acquisition subsequent to this becomes much more difficult o Evidence across many difference species, across many domains o Not applicable to all domains of learning in humans but applies to language and culture acquisition Language Acquisition - We enter the world capable of speaking any language, so why do we have trouble learning second/third/fourth languages? - Even as infants, our brains begin to pay selective attention to sounds/phonemes from the language most familiar to us o As the brain becomes accustomed to a particular language’s phonemes, it also loses ability to perceive phonemes not used in this language - Example of loss of phoneme perception –Hindi has 2 phonemes that sound different to native speakers, but the same to English speakers o This inability to detect a difference can be predicted by age - Although very young infants in English-speaking households can distinguish between two Hindi phonemes, older infants being raised by English speakers can no longer do so 1 - The brain also processes languages differently depending on age of acquisition o First and second language are processed in same regions if learned early on o Second language is processed in different region if acquired much later o This suggests that the brain is flexible at restructuring itself and accommodating different linguistic inputs, but only during a sensitive period - Tarzania - Stores of Genie (left) and Wild Boy of Aveyron (right) provide real-world examples of language learning (or lack thereof) after the sensitive period closes o Both had little to no exposure to spoken language growing up o Both were never able to grasp grammatical structures of their respective languages Culture - Given that culture and language are both cultural meaning systems acquired through social learning, some argue that they are inseparable - Accordingly, just as language acquisition has a sensitive period, so too should cultural acquisition - Cheung, Chudek, and Heine (2011) investigated the existence of a sensitive period for acquiring culture o Study examined cultural identification with both Chinese and Canadian culture among Hong Kong immigrants to Canada o Analyses focused on finding the role of:  Age of immigration  Years spent in Canada 2 o Immigration before age 15 –greater identification with Canadian culture as one spends more time in Canada o Immigration after age 15 –no relationship between time spent in Canada and Canadian identification o Suggests 15 years of age as end of sensitive period for identifying with another culture Revealing Differences with Age - If we are born open to learning any culture, this has 2 implications o Younger children across cultures should be relatively similar because there has been relatively little socialization o Older adults should show greater cultural differences between cultures due to more socialization - Evidence backs up these ideas - East Asians engage in more dialectical thinking (whereby the world is seen in constant flux) than North Americans o 7 year old Chinese and Canadian children make similar predictions about the future –as the children age however, Canadian children come to expect more consistent trends than Chinese children o When shown a linear trend, East Asians usually predict a reversal of the trend to be likelier than Canadians do o Pattern not found with 7 year olds o Difference begins to show with 9 year olds o Difference is much more pronounced with 11 year olds 3 Babies and Their Mommies - One big source of differences in socialization undoubtedly comes from infants’ interactions with their mothers - Any differences found in this domain is of great importance –these interactions mark the beginning of children’s socialization process - Keller’s (2007) investigation revealed vast cultural differences in how mothers interacted with their infants o Mothers from some cultures engage in much more physical contact with their infants than mothers from other cultures o Mothers from some cultures spend much more time in face-to-face interaction contexts with their children 4 Where Should They Sleep? - Several surveys have found variability in sleeping arrangements across cultures - Notably, most societies co-sleep (children sleep in parents’ room or in parents’ bed) o The US is often the only country to have a society where parents have a separate room for the child o Within the US, co-sleeping is common among many subcultures (e.g., Asian Americans, African-Americans) - Such practices become so entrenched that they become “moralized” –acting to the contrary suggests abnormal parent-parent or parent-child relationships - Shweder et al. (1995) found that such differences may be due to cultural differences in value prioritization o A comparison of Indian and American participants found that they focused on different values when deciding who sleeps with whom o The 2 different sleeping arrangements on the left of the graph are often considered desirable by Indians, but they were not rated as desirable by any Americans o In contrast, the sleeping arrangement on the right of the graph is preferred by more Americans than Indians - Indians valued the following (in descending order of importance) o Incest avoidance –opposite sex post=pubescent family members cannot share a room o Protection of vulnerable –young children should not be left alone at night o Female chastity anxiety –unmarried post-pubescent women must be chaperoned to prevent them from engaging in sexual activities o Respect for hierarchy –post-pubescent males are given social status by not having to sleep with parents - Americans valued the following (in descending order of importance) o Incest avoidance o Sacred coupl
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