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PSY100H1 Textbook Notes: Ch.16 -Cultural Psychology.docx

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

Chapter 16: Cultural Psychology What is Culture? Culture Consists of Information Transmitted through Learning  in broader sense, culture is any kind of info acquired by individuals through imitative or social learning Some Aspects of Culture Are Shared by Other Species and Some are Unique to Humans Humans Have Evolved to Accumulate Cultural Information  culture must have survival and reproductive value the larger the average group size, the large the cerebral cortex ratio  human brains evolved to be as big as they are because the cognitive capacities of a large brain were highly adaptive for social living  humans do not differ all that much from other primates in terms of their general problem solving intelligence, rather the human brain appears to have evolved to be esp. adept at learning info from others  social learning required the evolution of 2 capacities that are unique to humans: sophisticated communication skills and a theory of mind o first, humans evolved sophisticated communication skills that allowed them to convey beliefs, intentions and complex thoughts o second, one must be able to identify the intentions of fellow group members –that is, one must have a theory of mind; imagining the intentions of others; humans can accumulate cultural information. That is, after watching a model perform a behaviour, humans can reproduce that behaviour accurately and then improvise and add to that behaviour; cultural info accumulates and evolves  evolution and social learning: 2.5 year old children, chimpanzees, and orangutans had roughly the same percentage of correct responses, but the children had many more correct responses on social-learning tasks. These results suggest that humans have evolved specific social-learning skills  the ability to accumulate cultural information and to create increasingly to accumulate cultural information and to create increasingly sophisticated, complex and powerful tools has been and remains highly adaptive for humans  (limited) cultural information does not accumulate for animals What is Cultural Psychology? Cultural Psychology is the Study of How Cultures Shapes Psychological Processes  Humans are ultimately cultural animals  Higher-order psychological processes needed to be studied by considering the cultural environments in which they occur  People rarely leave their cultural environments thus most people are exposed to a single all-encompassing set of norms and shared understandings How Does Culture Affect the Mind?  Pg. 735  Polyandry (one wife multiple husbands) or polygamy (one husband many wives) Culture and Mind are Inextricably Bound  The north American education system highlight the individuality of each student, whereas the Japanese system emphasizes the importance of student’s belonging with their peers. Participation in a particular cultural environment (eg. One that tracks or does not track students through school) can be seen to shape the mind  North American school boards = performance based promotion  Japanese school boards = social promotion  Interactions among individuals create cultural norms and those norms reflect the underlying values of those individuals  The mind is influenced by participating in certain cultural practices, and cultural practices are shaped by the minds of the people who live within them  The culture and mind make each other up There is a Sensitive Period for Learning Culture  though humans are capable of producing and recognizing approx. 150 phonemes, no language uses more than 70 of them, but through socialization and being exposed to certain languages, we lose ability to distinguish between phonemes not in one’s own languages Cultural Differences in Psychological Processes Become more Pronounced with Age  westerners tend to view individual as source of action and control, whereas people from south and east asia, tend to see behaviour as arising from an individual’s interacting with others according to situational demands  American adults showed clear evidence of correspondence bias, whereas Indian adults showed a reverse correspondence bias (emphasized situational factors more than personal ones) The Self-concept Varies from Cultures  Chinese participants didn’t show any different patterns of activation when they considered themselves or their mothers, whereas Americans showed activation in different regions  In study, whereas American participants gave highly similar responses across different settings, the Japanese gave different responses depending on who was in the room with them o Interdependent self-construal appears to vary in different contexts much more than the independent self-construal does  East Asians do not show postdecisional dissonance when making choices for others –for example, when ordering food for friends at a restaurant. This finding suggests that east Asians are motivated to make their behaviours consistent with others’ expectations  Depending on self-construals, people strive to be consistent in different ways What are the Psychological Consequences of Moving to a Different Culture? Acculturation Requires Significant and Often Stressful Adjustment  Acculturation: the process of adaptation to a culture different from one’s own  U-shaped curve: a pattern of acculturation, characterized by three phases: the “honeymoon stage,” “crisis” or “culture shock” and “adjustment” o Honeymoon stage: 6-18 months in the new culture; negative attitudes towards host culture o Culture shock: the feelings of anxiety, estrangement, helplessness, and incongruousness with one’s surroundings that often follow emigration to a new cultural environment o Adjustment phase: period of unhappiness, people typically learn how to exist in host culture –extend over a number of years  Cultural distance: the disparity in customs, traditions, beliefs, and general heritage between two cultures o Smaller the difference the easier acculturation should be  Cultural fit: the degree to which one’s values and behavioral norms align with those common to another culture o the better the fit between an individual’s personality and values and the host culture, the easier will be the adjustment process People from Distinct, Minority Cultural Background Often Face Discrimination  stereotypes represent cultural beliefs –that is, they are shared beliefs among members of a culture o people succumb to stereotype threat whenever they act in a way consistent with a negative stereotype about a group to which they belong and thus are at risk for “proving the stereotype”  historical circumstances, economic competition, and cultural distinctiveness all play important role in determining which groups become targets of discrimination  distinctive group membership becomes an important source of meaning and self-esteem in their lives Multicultural People Can Switch Between Different Selves  frame-switching: the shift of thoughts and behaviours to those appropriate for a given cultural context  Scientific Method: Frame Switching in Action o Hypothesis: people who have been exposed to two cultural worlds can frame- switch between making situational or personal attributes o Results: Hong Kong participants who were primed with American images were least likely to attribute the fish’s behaviour to situational forces, whereas those primed with Chinese images were most likely to view the fish as acting b/c of situational forces o Conclusions: the Hong Kong participants cold unknowingly switch between Chinese and Western ways of explaining the fish’s behaviour  Multicultural people seem to switch between different self-construal’s depending on the context Multicultural People May be More Creative  People with creative personalities are more likely to desire multicultural experiences  A competing explanation is that there is something about adjustment to life in another culture that makes people more creative  Scientific Method: Creativity and Adapting to Different Cultures o Hypothesis: thinking about adapting to different cultures leads to enhanced creativity o Results: objective judges evaluated the drawings that followed the adopting prime to be more creative than those done in the other conditions o Conclusion: adapting to a new culture makes people aware of multiple perspectives and this awareness helps them to make them more creative How Does Culture Affect how we Think and Behave? Cultures Differ in Analytical and Holistic Thinking  Taxonomic categorization: a system of grouping stimuli based on perceived similarities of attributes; America responses –dog and rabbit are both mammals  Thematic categorization: a system of grouping stimuli based on perceived relationships among them; Chinese responses –rabbit have a relationship with carrots in that they eat them, whereas dogs have little relationship with either rabbits or carrots  Analytic thinking: a system of evaluation in which a person views objects as independent from context and inter terms of individual characteristics. The person then uses the resulting assessments to form a set of abstract rules meant to predict and explain the objects  Holistic thinking: a system of evaluation in which a person view objects with regard to context and in terms of the relationships between them. the person then uses the resulting assessments to guide behaviour  Analytical thinking is more common in individualistic cultures, particularly those in NA  Holistic thinking is more common in collectivistic cultures, particularly those in EA  Figure Line Task: differences in analytic and holistic thinking o People from individualistic cultures tend to perform better at the absolute task. People from collectivistic cultures tend to perform better on the relative task. Cultures Differ in motivations for Control and Choice  Primary control: influencing one’s environment to achieve one’s goals, desires, or wishes o For example, exerting primary control by convincing fried to go with you and heading off to the Cineplex to see movie o More common in individualistic cultures, such as US  Secondary control: psychologically aligning oneself with another to achieve a sense that one’s goals, desires, or wishes are being fulfilled o for example, exerting secondary control by convincing yourself that you would like to see the movie your friend wants to see o more common in collectivistic cultures, like Japan  choice and motivation o American children of European descent played more games than Asian American children when they were allowed to make choices, even though those choices were tangential to the game. Both groups of children played about the same number of when an out-group made choices for them. Asian American children played far more games when an in-group made choices  American vs. Indian students o Americans were more likely than Indians to view their behaviours as expressions of choice. The freedom to choose is valued even more in No
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