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Lecture

PSYB10H3 Lecture Notes - Acculturation


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB10H3
Professor
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

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Lecture 17: Culture
Lecture Overview
Defining Culture
Studying Culture
Describing Cultures
Social Psychology of Culture
Moving Between Cultures
Defining Culture
What is Culture?
o Culture is really a ODUJH³VLWXDWLRQ´WKDWFDQDIIHFWKRZSHRSOHEHKDYH
Why should we care?
What is Culture?
An ever-changing(1), constructive(2) stimulus which shapes(3) the way individuals
perceive and contribute to the world
1. Dynamic
a. The culture of our parents is not our culture, culture is constantly
changing
2. Influenced by members of the culture
a. The members of a culture make the culture what it is
3. Influences members of the culture
a. Culture is like a feedback loop ± members make the culture, but are
also affected by the culture
What is Culture?
Nationality
o The country you were born in
o The primary way in which people tend to study culture
Ethnicity
o Your cultural heritage
o Not necessarily where you are born, this usually applies to family lineage
Identification
o Shared identity of group members
o A person can identify with the country they are born in, the country their families
are from, or with a totally independent culture
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What is Culture?
Meaning System
o Gives us symbols, language, experiences (all which make us who we are, and
provides us with the situation in which we behave)
o Metaphysics
Beliefs about the world, universe, & existence
Why care?
Culture gives us all different perspectives on the world
Studying Culture
2 Primary Methodological Orientations
Typical Methods
Methodological Orientations
Culture-comparative
Cross-cultural
Culture Comparative
Universalist approach to cultural psychology that assumes basic psychological processes are
fundamental to all humans
Most common approach in cultural psych
Think between-culture variation is comparable to within-culture variation
o The difference between people within a culture, and between two cultures means
the same thing
Humans are humans, and culture is just a situation put on top of us
Cross-Cultural
Relativist approach to cultural psychology that assumes that human behaviour is
essentially cultural
o Psychological processes are defined by the cultural context in which they occur
Focus on within-culture variation (because you cannot compare people from two
different cultures)
o Usually only discuss between-culture differences qualitatively
Typical Methods
&XOWXUH-comparative psychologists
1. Identify a construct (e.g., individualism) that might vary by culture
2. Test the construct in more than one culture
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&URVV-cultural
1. Choose a culture
2. Study and identify psychological processes of people in that culture (because they hold
that cognitive processes are NOT the same in every culture)
Describing Cultures
Individualism/Collectivism
Political climate
Religious Beliefs
Ecological Differences
Individualist Cultures
Emphasize personal achievement, even at the expense of others
Greater emphasis on competition
o The idea of Capitalism is that without competition there would be no fairness
E.g., Canada, Western Europe
A picture of one fish swimming in front of other fish is used to measure individualism/
collectivism. In individualist cultures, dispositional explanations are given as to why the
one fish is ahead (e.g., the fish is faster than others, the fish is the leader)
Collectivist Cultures
(PSKDVL]HVRFLDOUROHVDQG collective responsibilities, even at the expense of the individual
Greater emphasis on cooperation
E.g., East Asia (China, Korea), South America (Latin America)
People in collectivist cultures make external attributions for why the one fish is out in
front (e.g., he is being chased by the other fish, the group is pushing the fish ahead)
In general, during the fish experiment, the researcher will measure the amount of external vs.
internal attribXWLRQVSHRSOHPDNHIRUWKHILVK¶s behavior to decide whether they are more
individualist or collectivist in terms of their perspective.
Individualism and collectivism are not necessary opposites on the same pole, they are
measured as two separate things. People can be high on both individualism and collectivism,
although this is less common
Japanese individuals tend to score high on both individualist measures and collectivist
measures
Political Climate
Political structure greatly constrains behaviour and cultural expression
Sometimes government change can extinguish a culture
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