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Lecture 2

CuP - Lecture 2 (Jan 12).docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3350
Professor
Francois Lalonde
Lecture
2

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LECTURE 2 (Jan 12)
The Evolution of Culture
Where does culture come from?
Cultural ideas and norms don’t necessarily emerge to address universal problems they result from
cultural learning
Cultures are fluid and dynamic, and in most cases, will change over time
Changing norms regarding blowing your nose, spitting, farting, burping
Human Timeline
Human evolution 1 million years
o Homo sapiens 150,000 200,000
o Origin in Africa
o Archaeologists can extract mitochondrial DNA from fossilized bones which can better
narrow dates and timelines for the origin of humanity
Agricultural revolution
o 10,000 years ago
Industrial Revolution
o 1750 A.D.
After the Ice Age
Different societies emerged
o Some literate
Industrial
o some illiterate
agricultural
o some hunter gatherer
retaining stone tools
Fertile Crescent
“Mesopotamia”
o Stable food source of animals and plants
Cultural evolution spreading of ideas
In “Eurasia”, there is a geographical advantage
o Things move from east to west whereas in North America or Africa for example, there is a
north-south orientation
Best plants for domestication
o 5000 years earlier than Americas
Best animals for domestication
East-West orientation
o Climate similar
o Crops spread easily
o Cultural ideas spread more easily
o More time for inventiveness
Eurasian easily conquered other continents
Plants: wheat, barley, peas, lentils
Animals: sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys, cows
Advantages of Agricultural Societies
More food so more people
Technology development
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o Metallurgy (tools, weapons)
o Writing
Labour
o Agriculture
o Public works
Warriors
o Conquest
Land, slaves, resources
Exposure to diseases leads to immunity
Picture
o Different agricultural societies:
Asian rice paddy (wet) vs. European farm (dry)
Rice
Small acreage
Skill oriented
18th century
hours (3,000
year)
Strong effort-
reward
Complex work
Corn & wheat
Large acreage
Mechanically
oriented
18th century
hours (1,200
year)
Feudalism: little
control
Simpler work
Where does culture come from?
Human nature and culture
To survive people had to meet biological needs (e.g. reproduction) AND social motives (e.g.
negotiating complex hierarchies)
Universally need to come up with solutions on how to adapt to environment to address the needs
and motives
Solutions dependent on their physical environment (context)
How Different Geographies Affect Cultural Norms
Evoked culture: we all have pre-wired behavioural repertories that are potentially accessible and
these will be evoked when ecology calls for them
Harsher environments call for greater masculinity (Turkese & Tahitian)
More parasites in a culture the greater the value of physical attractiveness (sign of health)
Transmitted culture: people learn cultural practices through social learning
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