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PSYB10 - Lec 8 (near verbatim) - Culture, Social Power & Hierarchy.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Elizabeth Page- Gould

PSYB10: Lec 8 Culture, Social Power and Hierarchy -UK: profs where robes all the time; shows distinct culture; UK = less familiar culture than North American culture; familiar = we dont try to partition ourselves in egalitarian ways; UK = much more into hierarchy and therefore everybody wears signs that indicate what their status is in the current culture -military = very specific uniforms to show rank -What is culture? -culture is an ever-changing (dynamic) constructive stimulus that shapes the way individuals perceive and contribute to the world -just like the culture affects you, you also affect the culture (rebellions, artists etc;) -nationality (country you were born in; can affect you more or less); ethnicity (not so much your race, lot of East-Asians, but ethnicity = Chinese, Viet, Korean etc;) -idenitification = very important; you can have nationality/ethinicty, but identification is how much you associate that heritage in yourself, how much you incorporate it into self-concept; not everybody identifies with their cultural heritage the same way; identity = important moderator of all these effects -many ppl emphasize that culture = meaning system = symbols/language/experiences that are share by members of the same culture (emblems that differ by culture); language seems to shape a lot of our cognition; language = key mediator through which we construe the world Im going to think about something in a way that I can describe it and if I cant describe it, then I probably wont think about it exactly in that way -metaphysical aspect of culture: beliefs about world, existence; why are we here? Almost every culture has an origins of humanity story from this, you derive a lot of meaning about your existence and your life, interpretation of everyday things -4 key ways that ppl describe culture: 1) individualist cultures: ppl will emphasize the individual over group (personal achievement; hero, lone cowboy); greater competition; Canada/Western Europe; and collectivism = emphaism on group, social cohesion; value social roles and collective responsibilities even at the expense of the individual (East Asian, Latin America) (most researchers think of collectivist and individualist cultures as a dichotomy; if you are more collectivist then you are less individualist BUT when you try to measure these as separate measurements, doesnt tend to work out so well); Japan = very high on collectivism but also on individualism; probable that individualism and collectivism arent opponent forces but rather can have both at the same time but usually see them as opposites although doesnt have to be 2) political climate: of a country greatly both constrains behavior and cultural expression but can also change it in pronounced ways; depending on whos in power shapes your culture a bit 3) religious beliefs: every culture has idea about origins and these beliefs strongly influence social norms/roles/ moral reasoning 4) ecological differences: enviro will change culture; not studied as much b/c hard to manipulate ecology and measure outcomes -culture = systematic set of situations How does culture affect us? o Culture and cognition: Study: How do we think? Western assumption that we think in words isnt a universal pattern = hypothesis; not everybody thinks like that, theres also variations w/in a culture To demonstrate that this is the case, got east-asian americans and European American participants. All were given cognitive task, given different sets of instructions (thinking out loud VS. articulatory suppression condition) Articulatory suppression = say the alphabet out loud while working on task Idea is that: if youre doing something that interrupts your thought process (ex: if you think in words then saying the alphabet out loud takes up the verbalization process); when theres interference in the task domain, you see ppl make more errors; if you do two tasks that take up two diff domains, dont see as many errors Results: Vertical axis = change in performance on task: did baseline task to see how good they were to begin w/; found no differences between groups European Americans: see a mild boost in performance when thinking out loud, reason being, you are doing something that is congruent w/ your thought process; with articulatory suppression, see large decrement in performance (by saying the alphabet = interrupted ppls ability to think in words) East Asian Americans: in both cases, any form of verbalization (thinking aloud or articulatory suppression) is harming their performances; this is b/c verbalization is interfering w/ how they think (if you dont think w/ words, then its hard to come up w/ words to describe how youre thinking) WE DONT ALL THINK IN WORDS Another way that our culture affects cognition is thru cognitive framing: You can think of a cognitive framework as being a schema (set of expectations about the world); will affect what you perceive in the world and how you interpret the world (affects attributions made 4 events) Study: o Hypothesis: they think that priming someone w/ a familiar icons of their culture will temporarily increase their identification w/ that culture o First primed ppl w/ familiar icon of their culture; prime Chinese participants w/ Chinese icons vs. Western icons (for 100 ms); too quick to recognize what you saw o Asked ppl to rate certain traditional values after seeing icons; observe greater endorsement of traditional values after having viewed images of their culture o Primed and thinking about culture, then youll act more prototypically like members of your culture Dialecticism (how culture affects cognition) Theory: cultures (esp East Asian culture vs. Western) variy in how dialectical ppl are in their thinking Through dialecticism, youll interpret enviro in certain ways 3 key principles of dialecticism: 1) belief in change (everything in world is in flux, constantly changing); ppl vary on this, something ppl nothing changes whereas other think that everything changes 2) contradiction (someone who is a dialectical thinker really believe that world is full of contradiction/paradox; contrasted w/ linear thinking = more western approach = think one is false, so the other must be true whereas dialectical thinker may say that both could be true) 3) wholism (dialectical thinker embraces the idea that everything is interrelated and interdependent) Understand principle of contradiction through principle of wholism; why would 2 contradictory things be true? Theres probably some greater whole that explains both of them. Study: compared proverbs from China and US; idea is that if cultures really differ in terms of dialectical thinking vs. linear thinking, then it should be reflected in cultural proverbs; degree of linearity vs. dialecticism in proverb o Linear thinking: for example is no proof; need set of criteria, evidence o Dialectical thinkers = reason more analogically = all about examples as a function of proof o Dialectical proverb: beware of your friends, not your enemies; seems to be kind of contradictory
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