Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (170,000)
UTSC (20,000)
Psychology (10,000)
PSYC14H3 (200)
Sisi Tran (100)
Chapter 2

PSYC14H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Lebron James, Cultural Learning, Imitative Learning

Course Code
Sisi Tran

This preview shows page 1. to view the full 5 pages of the document.
Chapter 02.
Culture and Human Nature
Humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor for approximately 5 to 7 million
years ago
Is Culture Unique to Humans?
o Definition 1: Refers to some kind of symbolic coding having a set of
signals, icons, and words that refer to something else that most members
of that culture recognize
With regards to this definition, humans are the only species that
have culture because no other species have symbolic coding
Problem with this definition: circularity
o Definition 2: humans ability to learn information from other members of
their species through social transmission
With regards to this definition, humans aren't the only species to
have culture
This is also seen in the animal kingdom
Ex. Imo washing potatoes her habit was transferred to the rest
of her troupe
Ex. Chimps learning to use twigs & barks to fish out termites -
appear to be learned behaviours that are culturally transmitted from
one generation of chimps to another
These differences in learned behaviours can be used to
distinguish the different cultures of chimps
Culture is not only found in primate species
o Ex. Dolphins & whales have complex cultural learning, seen in feeding
strategies and in vocalizations
o Killer whales have been found to speak different dialects, researchers can
recognize a whale pod by the sounds they're making - these dialects
change over time, like human culture
Cultural Learning
Humans are not unique in being able to engage in cultural learning, but we stand
out in the extent of our cultural learning skills
o Cultural learning by animals is very slow
Humans frequently learn new information from each other, and often with only a
single exposure to it
Many aspects of the human cultures are shared by nearly every member of the
culture; ex. Dialects, some cultural practices, and specific tools are often so
widespread in a culture that its accessible to virtually everyone in that culture
Humans seem to be unique in whom they choose to imitate
o Prestige bias: they are especially concerned with detecting who has
prestige - they seek others who have skills an are respected by others
More likely to imitate those who are viewed by others as more
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version

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

Chapter 02.
Very efficient way of culture learning
Our ancestors who did this were more likely to acquire the highly
useful cultural knowledge that gave them a survival advantage
compared to those who did not
Advertisers use this to their advantage by using prestigious people
like LeBron James in commercials that aren't relevant to their
LeBron James in a Coca-Cola ad that has nothing to do
with his basketball skills
Humans’ unusually sophisticated cultural learning skills further rests on two key
capacities: the ability to consider the perspective of others, and the ability to
communicate with language.
Theory of Mind
Theory of mind: people understand that others have minds that are different from
their own, and thus that other people have perspectives and intentions that are
different from their own
o Ex. 1 year old points to a toy he want, indicating that he understands that
his mother is not aware of its location - this shows that he understands that
his mother has different thoughts in her head than he does
This understanding of others' intentional states is evident in humans across all
cultures, and it appears to develop at similar rates across cultures
This is not evident in most other species, even in chimpanzees
o Chimpanzees that are trained by humans do appear to take on the
perspective of other, but chimpanzees in the wild show far less evidence
o They don't strive to share their experiences and activities with others of
their own kind
Imitative learning: the learner internalizes something of the model's goals and
behavioural strategies
o The learner is copying precisely what it thinks the model is trying to do
o Most reliable route for cultural learning
Emulative learning: the learner is focused on the environmental events that are
involves - how the use of one object could potentially effect changes in the state
of the environment
o Focus on the events that happen around the model, rather than what the
model intends to accomplish
o Try to figure things out for themselves once they get an idea by observing
others - very clever and creative form of learning
o Individual has to use creative insight and problem-solving skills to
imagine how an object could be used in a new way
o Critical drawback: does not allow for cultural information to accumulate
Key difference between emulative & imitative learning: emulative doesn't require
imitating a model's behaviour strategies
A number of studies provide evidence that chimpanzees and other primates tend
to solve problems with emulative learning rather than imitative learning
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version