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Lecture

Chapter 16 Notes


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY100H1
Professor
Michael Inzlicht

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Chapter 16 – Cultural Psychology
Uncertainty about generalizability of results to other cultures
Ex. Muller-Lyer Illusion doesn’t work for cultures without carpentered corner
Cultural Psychology – study of how culture shapes psychological processes
1. Culture plays prominent role in mental lives
2. Determine if behaviours/mental processes are same in all cultures
-Cultural env’t more inclusive than social env’t
oPeople can enter/leave different social situations; can’t leave cultural situation
oPeople are exposed to single, all-encompassing set of norms
Culturebeliefs, values, rules and customs of a group of people who share a language and
environment and these beliefs, values, rules, or customs are transmitted through learning across
generations; information acquired through imitative or social learning
-Other animals display imitative learning (ex. Potato washing monkey; dolphins)
-Humans greatest extent and learn faster
oAll human behaviour/thoughts someway shaped by cultural learning
Social nature of humans key factor in evolution of brain size
-Relation btw average group side and proportion of cerebral cortex
-Cognitive capacities highly adaptive for social learning
1. Development of Language
-Allow individuals in group to coordinate behaviours
-Language key adaptation for cultural learning
oMore accurately describe threats/opportunities, understand complex social
dynamics, describe/perpetuate cultural ideas
2. Theory of the Mind – identify intentions of fellow members
-Humans can accumulate central information highly adaptive
oCan acquire far more sophisticated ideas/devl than any individual lifespan
oEx. Chimpanzee (low-precision cultural learning) use same tools for getting
ants and rocks than 1000s of years ago
Common universal psychological characteristics; shaped/expressed differently across cultures
-Potential at birth to become anyone, learn any language…etc
-Mind and culture inseparable culture exist from interactions of minds of ppl
Universal Behaviours, Reactions, Institutions
-Sex, Gender, Family: private copulation, sexual modesty, rape, sexual jealousy
-Social Differentiation: Classification of kin, Leaders, Age division of labour
-Social Customs: Baby talk, death rites, etiquette, tabooed utterances
-Emotion: childhood fear of strangers, envy, rhythm,
-Cognition: Aesthetics, supernatural/religion, medicine, taxonomy
Example: Education in Japan vs. North America
-NA: tracking system separate children into groups according to performance
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oStress individuality of each student
oMore impt that child receive individualized education than to stay with peers
-Japan: All students promoted together to the next grade
oMore impt for students to develop sense of belonging with their peers
Culture and Mind make each other up
-Mind influenced by participating in cultural practices
-Cultural practices shaped by minds of people who live them
Sensitive Period for Learning Culture
-Ex. Language: humans born with capacity to recognize all 150 phonemes
oNo language uses more than 70 phonemes
oChildren 6-8mo recognize Hindi phonems but not 10-12mo
o4 day old infants prefer rhythms of their own language
oAbility to learn new language diminish over time
-Language influence but doesn’t determine thought
oWhorfian Hypothesislanguage determines thought (think through language)
Weaker version: language influences thought
oEx. Color Perception
Some culture only have words corresponding to white, black, and red
Boundaries for different colour labels for English, Berinmo (New
Guinea) and Himba (Namibia)
Color words do overlap somewhat with English
Color perception NOT determined by language because all three groups
can choose same paint chip to correspond to different words
Color words can cover different ranges
Ex. Show three paint chips and ask which are more similar
Tend to view colour as more different if fall into different
language categories and more similar if in same language
category
Cultural Differences More Pronounced with Age
-Acquire culture as they are socialized
-Age universal mind shaped in culturally particular ways
-Example: Describe situation of deviant behaviour
oPersonal attribution: something about person callous/irresponsible
oSituation attribution: passenger not seriously hurt
Older American sample make more personal attr
Older Indian sample make more situational attr
Self-Concept Varies Across Cultures
-People have powerful motivation to view themselves as consistentview themselves to
behave similarly across diverse range of situations
oStrive to make behaviours consistent with attitudes
oDissonance arises when behaviours/attitudes clash
-Inter-dependent self construals highly variable according to situation
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