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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 - Social Psychology (Culture).doc

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PSYC 102
Kevin Hamilton

Social Psychology: Culture • Different cultures display different behaviours, assumptions, and values • Often the behaviours, assumptions and values underlying one’s own culture are relatively transparent until we interact with another culture • Some of the key behaviours that differentiate cultures include: o Use of personal space and territory o Expressiveness o Pace of life o Strength of role expectations (e.g. male vs. female) o Significance and role of religion • The world is getting smaller and we are becoming more aware of people’s cultural differences, as well as how these differences can influence behaviour and the fact that characteristics of the built environment that support culturally specific behaviour can be subtle and profound • One of the key ways that cultures can differ is in terms individualistic and collectivistic characteristics o Collectivistic : emphasis is on the collective (group) and solidarity  Africa, South America, Central America, India, Asia o Individualistic: emphasis is on the individual and self reliance  North America, Western Europe 1 Culture – a definition: 1) a program of shared rules that govern the behaviour of a community or society. There are rules for: • getting along with people • raising children • making decisions (and who makes decisions) • using tools (technology) • using symbols (language, writing, gestures, awards, gifts, etc.) • People in collectivist cultures often give gifts but do not expect to receive gifts in return 2) a set of values, beliefs and attitudes shared by most members of a community Cultural psychologists: study how the rules of culture affect people’s behaviour (development of values, beliefs and attitudes) Cross-cultural psychologists: study cultural commonalties and differences Anthropologists: study the economics and customs of cultures Some important issues in the study of culture and behaviour: • Difficult to study because the language used in asking questions differs between cultures and is influenced by cultural rules values and beliefs. Many cultures have concepts that can’t be translated or that have different importance. 2 • E.g. the concept of filial piety (honouring, respecting, obeying and providing financial support to ancestors) is very important in Chinese culture but not emphasized nearly as much in Europe and North America (where the elderly is sometimes marginalized) • We should not simply accept that cultures are different but we should ask why they are different • The principle mechanisms responsible for cultural differences are: • economic underpinnings (e.g. agrarian vs. industrial) • history • survival needs • environment Communications Body Language: • gestures • facial expressions • display of emotion and when emotions are displayed • personal space High-context (collectivistic) cultures: • the social rules that people live by are usual not explicit (people just assume that everyone understands how things are) • usually very homogeneous • lots of shared knowledge 3 • considerable attention to non-verbal sources of information Low-context (individualistic) cultures: • not very homogeneous (Canada, United States) • emphasis is on words and articulation of ideas and not on non- verbal cues) Time Monochromatic cultures (Europe, North America): • linear, sequential use of time • emphasis on punctuality • influenced by industrialization– the need to be at work on time and the emphasis on productivity • monochromatism is spreading due to globalization Polychromatic cultures (Mexico, South America): • many things done simultaneously • priority often given to family • being on time is of less significance than in monochromatic cultures • influenced by agrarian economies 4 Identity Individualistic cultures (North America, Western Europe): • emphasis is on the individual over the group Collectivist cultures (Japan, China): • emphasis on the group over the individual Identity affects: • language • which personality traits a
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