Cross Cultural Social Psychology
Evolutionary Foundations of Cultural Psychology
Why is it that people are attracted to people with symmetrical faces, it is something
that has been adapted and learned over time.
How is it that evolution and culture go hand in hand?
Biological versus Cultural Evolution
Biological evolution is the replication of the genes,
Cultural Evolution is the replication of ideas
Biological genes is analogous to cultural memes
Longevity is the gene needs to exist long enough for it to be transmitted to someone
else. If you aren’t the fittest to survive you wont be able to transmit it to anyone else.
Fecundity if an idea is popular it will be transmitted
Fidelity has to do with accuracy, when a gene is replicated it is often mutated as
well, we don’t have an exact replication, it is sort of replicated but not identically
Thinking about biology we are thinking about natural selection and sexual selection.
If there is not enough fidelity then it is not a replication. We should think of it as the
epidemiology of ideas. Epidemiology is the study of diseases. Disease morph itself
every time it is transmitted. So when an idea is transmitted it is morph all the time.
What kinds of ideas are transmitted and morph, what makes something viral?
Communicable Ideas spread: something that can be transmitted to a group of
people easily. These ideas need to be socially acceptable in order to be
Emotional Ideas Spread: they are ideas that you are passionate about so you want
to get it out of your body. It is also relatable, it is something that we all experience,
so that you can make connections, it can be to develop a friendship or to have a
connection, just to say that you get it and that person is not alone. You tend to tell
people the most emotional part of your day, it has to be interesting for you to want
to talk about it, everytime you exaggerate it you are making it more appealing to the
Minimally Counterintuitive Ideas Spread: things that are generally normal but
somewhat unique. These ideas are easy to remember and easy to spread because it
makes it believable because most of it is coherent. This is why we think about
fairytales because they make it seem somewhat normal and then something sticks
out for instance in Rupuzel, she had really long hair, and that’s the things that stood
Thinking about evolution we think about how we evolved as hunters and gathers
and how we evolved as a species
These groups started out very small and they were very nomadic, they moved from
place to place
Most activities occurred in highly social contexts
Whenever there is a conflict there is lots of discussion within the groups This develops into a system tat is very interdependent because they have adapted to
function as a group
These are the groups that helped us develop our body to make us tick.
Homo erectus developed 8.8 million years ago. It was the first human species on
Then homo sapiens developed, they had language and was able to transfer ideas.
Homo sapiens today are the same but they are very sophisticated using technology.
How did we get to this stage?
This was because of the industrial revolution. One of the major changes is reflected
in this frieze which reflects domestication. This was a monumental change. It
resulted in a new way of living known as faming and agriculture. Pastoring (Herding
sheep, cows, chickens and all other animals), (crop growing,) domesticated plants,
cultivating. There is a surplus of food now, and we don’t have to go any where to
find food, so now we can spend more time on other tasks. This developed farming
What is interesting about this, is that farming developed independently across the
world. All of the world was developing at the same rate, and they were also
developing babies and the population was getting larger and larger.
Hunter Gatherer Versus Farming Communities
Standard of Living: how well are people doing and how well are they meeting their
needs to be able to function in the world, has to do with life expectancy.
Quality of Life: how satisfied someone is with what they have. People who have
more may not be as happy with their life.
Hunter Gatherer: they always have to move around together in groups, they have a
more equal standard of living.
Farming Communities: there is a discrepancy between communities.
Was it really such a good thing that it changed, yes because now we are more
But what does it mean for people today? Higher suicide rates. Why is it that in the
hunter gatherer society we were fighting so hard to stay alive and then in farming
communities we are committing suicide? In the hunter gatherer society they were
more close together, in modern day society you have a society where you don’t
know every one, and you don’t interact with them.
Does this mean that modern day society is more well off? Not necessarily