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Sisi Tran

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I. Intro to Cultural Psychology
a. Commonalities Across Definitions of Culture
i. Humans Interact with Environments
1. Ecocultural Components
a.-culture is both constrained and shaped by a groups habitat, ex.
Hot climate, wear loose clothing, starts to become tradition,
adapting to environment
_ Culture is adaptive to the environment
_ People develop language, writing, tools, skills, abstract ideas,
moral & aesthetic standards, social patterns, norms… in
adapting to their ecosystem
ii. Culture Consists of Shared Elements
1.Shared Practices and Shared Meanings- In specifying the limits of
culture, people have looked to these shared elements as one set of
defining parameters.
a.Double boundary of culture- if I dont understand your
language and you dont understand my language
2.Do people share: a language, a time period, a geographic
iii. Transmission to Others Over Time
1. Types of Transmission
b.Vertical- parents to offspring, parallels genetic transmission so
c.Horizontal- friends to you, rewarding certain bhvrs in terms of
attention etc, ex. Someone is popular, they are thing for a reason
so you wanna do that too
d.Oblique- learn things through your environment, like university,
media, education
e.Enculturation-maintaining your culture, process of transmitting
cultural elements to others in ones own community, serves as a
source with continuity
f. Acculturations- adapting to another culture, takes place from
outside a persons own cultural group, serves as a source of

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Definition of Culture
1. Culture emerges in adaptive interactions between humans and environments
2. Culture consists of shared elements
3. Culture is transmitted across time
b. Challenges in Studying Culture
_ Definition of culture varies among researchers
_ Boundaries of cultures are not clear cut
_ Cultures change over time
_ Variability among individuals in same culture
_ Limited access to a wide range of cultures
_ Lost in Translation – How might one measure concepts & models in a
standardized way?
c. Culture Shock- the difficulty people have adjusting to a new culture that differs
markedly from their own.
d. Is Culture Unique to Humans?
i. Cultural Learning
Animals shown to learn cultural info but they arent very good at it ex.
Jap macques, potato washing tech not able to lern t very well from imo
Many aspects of human cultures are shared by nearly every member of
the culture, example dialects, some cultural practices, and specific
tools are often so widespread in a particular culture that they are
accessible to virtually everyone from that culture
oSo cultural learning by animals very slow comp to humans
Humans unique in whom they choose to imitate
Humans concerned withprestige”- seek others who have skills and
are respected by others and try to imitate what these individuals are
oEfficient way of cultural learning, more likely to pick a model
that is an expert in their field, better to have a general copying
mechanism of being attracted to prestigious individual because
that is more efficient since we dont know the particular aspect
of what makes the model successful
oIdentifying signs of prestige and then imitating ppl who
displayed those signs were skills that were likely selected for in
the course of human evolution
ii. Theory of Mind

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People understand that others have minds that are different from their
own, and thus other people have perspectives and intentions that are
different from their own.
Understanding of others intentional states is evident in humans across
all cultures and it tends to develop at a fairly similar rate across all
Human abilities and motivations to imagine the perspectives and
intentions of other as well as to share their own prespectives and
intentions with other, are far superior to those of chimps and other
animals, this is important for cultural learning, two types:
oImitative learning- learner internalizes something of the
models goals and behavioural strategies
Ex, by appreciating what bozo is doing with the stick, the
individual in internalizing the goals and is better able to
produce them, so when chance appears gonna do what
bozo did with the stick to get the bannanas
oEmulative learning- learning is focused on the environmental
events that are involved – basically how the use of one object
could potentially effect changes in the state of the environment.
Ex. Chimps, have a hard time taking in others perspective
and tend to focus on the object, learn that the sticks
affords such banana-knocking strategies so when they get
the chance they try to figure out how to use the stick to
down the bananas themselves rather than imitating the
oDifference between emulative and imitative is that emulative
learning doesnt require imitating models bhvr, rather its
focusing on what the model is doing rather than what they are
trying to accomplish. Individual has to use clever insight to
imagine how an object could be used to solve a problem
Although very effective and intelligent but there is one
critical drawback, it DOES NOT allow for cultural
information to accumulate
iii. Language
IMPORTANT for conveying cultural info
Allows ideas to be communicated without having to be visually
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