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Lecture 1

PSYC14H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Infant Mortality, General Idea, Doctor Fish

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Sisi Tran

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Here are a few of many definitions of “CULTURE” (***don’t need to know all these def)
A way of life for a group of people in a certain setting and time
o The behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, without thinking about
them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation
Is cultivated behaviour
o The totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted
Symbolic communication
o Some of its symbol include a group skill, knowledge, attitudes, values, and motives. The
meaning of the symbols are learned and deliberately perpetuated in a society through
its institutions.
Sum of the learned behaviour of a group of people that are generally considered to be the
tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation
Collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of
people from another
Commonalities Across Definitions of Culture
1. Human Interact with environment
Ecocultural Components: culture is both constrained and shaped by a group’s habitat
Culture is adaptive to the environment
Picture: For many years, the indigenous people were able to preserve and take good
care of the lake; there was a lot fish. But now the lake is destroyed by human
activities. So, they have taken the land back and the indigenous principle and living off
the land now
People develop language, writing, tools, skills abstract ideas, moral & aesthetic
standards, social patterns, norms, etc in adapting to their ecosystem
E.g, wearing light clothing in hot climates starts to become part of the culture,
adapting to the environment
When the env changes, the culture also changes.
E.g., If infant mortality is high, it may be a cultural norm for parents to
have many children. However, infant mortality is not a problem in
developed country today, so we don’t see family with many children
due to adaption to the env
2. Culture Consists of Shared Elements
Shared Practices and Shared Meaning
In specifying the limit of culture, people have looked to these shared elements
as one set of defining parameter
Do people share: a language, a time period, a geographic region?
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