PSYC14H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Imitative Learning, Gastrointestinal Tract, Neocortex

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Published on 6 Feb 2019
PSYC14: Cross-Cultural Social Psychology Clara Rebello
PSYC14 Chapter 2: Culture and Human Nature
Humans are not nearly as muscular and strong as chimpanzees
Humans aren’t the only species to have culture
o Can be seen in macaques and chimpanzees as well
o Culture is also evident in species other than primate ones, like dolphins and killer whales
But humans stand out in contrast to other animals in the extent of their cultural learning skills
o Nonhuman species aren’t very good at learning cultural information
o Human often learn new information from each other, and often with only a single
exposure to it
o Many aspects of human culture are shared by nearly every member of the culture
Humans are unique in whom they choose to imitate
o Prestige bias: A tendency to imitate prestigious others more than less prestigious ones
Those who have the respect and attention of others
o Very efficient way of cultural learning
o Evolution most likely lead to skills of
Identifying signs of prestige
Imitating people who displayed those signs
Side effect of prestige bias
o Humans tend to be fascinated with famous people and want to know everything about
o People may sometimes imitate a prestigious person’s destructive habits
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 Feature also unique to humans
o Involved in ways that humans engage in cultural learning
o Evidence of theory of mind in chimpanzees is somewhat mixed
Ones in the wild show far less evidence
Chimpanzees don’t appear to strive to share their experiences and activities
with others of their own kind
Imitative learning: A type of social learning in which the learner internalizes aspects of the
model’s goals and behavioural strategies
Emulative learning: A type of social learning focused on the environmental events involved with
a model’s behaviour, such as how the use of one object could potentially affect changes in the
state of the environment
o Learner doesn’t focus on what the model intends to accomplish
o Chimpanzees have a hard time taking on the perspective of others Can’t engage in
imitative learning
Instead, they tend to focus on the object itself
o Can be very clever and creative
Individual has to use creative insight and problem-solving skills to imagine how
an object could be used in a new way
Children tend to overimitate models
o Imitate even the irrelevant actions
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