Class Notes (1,100,000)
CA (650,000)
York (40,000)
PSYC (5,000)
PSYC 1010 (1,000)
Lecture 8

PSYC 1010 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Body Odor, Ukrainian Culture, Scientific MethodPremium


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 1010
Professor
Kathleen Fortune
Lecture
8

This preview shows page 1. to view the full 5 pages of the document.
PSYC 1010 Lecture 8 Notes Behavior is shaped by Cultural Heritage, Heredity
and environment jointly influence Behavior, People’s experience of the World is
Subjective and Goals of the scientific enterprise
Introduction
Behavior is shaped by Cultural Heritage
Among the multiple determinants of human behavior, cultural factors are
particularly prominent. Just as psychology evolves in a socio-historical context,
so, too, do individuals.
Our cultural backgrounds exert considerable influence over our behavior.
As Markus and Hamedani put it, “The option of being asocial or a cultural—that
is, living as a neutral being who is not bound to particular practices and socio-
culturally structured ways of behaving is not available.
People eat, sleep, work, and relate to one another in culture-specific ways.
What is culture?
Theorists have argued about the exact details of how to define culture for over a
century, and the precise boundaries of the concept remain a little fuzzy.
Broadly speaking, culture refers to the widely shared customs, beliefs, values,
norms, institutions, and other products of a community that are transmitted
socially across generations.
Culture is a broad construct, encompassing everything from a society’s legal
system to its assumptions about family roles, from its dietary habits to its political
ideals, from its technology to its attitudes about time, from its modes of dress to
its spiritual beliefs, and from its art and music to its unspoken rules about sexual
liaisons.
Much of our cultural heritage is invisible.
Assumptions, ideals, attitudes, beliefs, and unspoken rules exist in people’s
minds and may not be readily apparent to outsiders.
Moreover, because our cultural background is widely shared, we feel little need
to discuss it with others, and we often take it for granted.
For example, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the importance
of living in rectangular rooms, trying to minimize body odor, limiting yourself to
one spouse at a time, or using credit cards to obtain material goods and services.
We often fail to appreciate its influence, but our cultural heritage has a pervasive
impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Although the influence of culture is everywhere, generalizations about cultural
groups must always be tempered by the realization that great diversity exists
within any society or ethnic group.
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Subscribers Only

Only page 1 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Subscribers Only
Researchers may be able to pinpoint genuinely useful insights about Ethiopian,
Korean American, or Ukrainian culture, for example, but it would be foolish to
assume that all Ethiopians, Korean Americans, or Ukrainians exhibit identical
behavior.
It is also important to realize that both differences and similarities in behavior
occur across cultures.
As we will see repeatedly, psychological processes are characterized by both
cultural variance and invariance.
Caveats aside, if we hope to achieve a sound understanding of human behavior,
we need to consider cultural determinants.
Heredity and environment jointly influence Behavior
Are we who we areathletic or artistic, quick-tempered or calm, shy or outgoing,
energetic or laid backbecause of our genetic inheritance or because of our
upbringing?
This question about the importance of nature versus nurture, or heredity versus
environment, has been asked in one form or another since ancient times.
Historically, the nature versus nurture question was framed as an all-or-none
proposition.
In other words, theorists argued that personal traits and abilities are governed
entirely by heredity or entirely by environment.
John B. Watson, for instance, asserted that personality and ability depend almost
exclusively on an individual’s environment.
In contrast, Sir Francis Galton, a pioneer in mental testing, maintained that
personality and ability depend almost entirely on genetic inheritance.
Today, most psychologists agree that heredity and environment are both
important.
A century of research has shown that genetics and experience jointly influence
individuals’ intelligence, temperament, personality, and susceptibility to many
psychological disorders.
If we ask whether people are born or made, psychology’s answer is “Both.”
This response does not mean that nature versus nurture is a dead issue.
Lively debate about the relative influence of genetics and experience continues
unabated.
Furthermore, psychologists are actively seeking to understand the complex ways
in which genetic inheritance and experience interact to mold behavior.
People’s experience of the World is Subjective
Our experience of the world is highly subjective.
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

Subscribers Only