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Chapter 16

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Cerebral Cortex, Human Brain, Psychologies

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Chapter 16: Cultural Psychology
What Is Culture?
Culture Consists of Information Transmitted through Learning
-Culture: any kind of information acquired by individuals through imitative or social learning (broader
Some Aspects of Culture are Shared by Other Species, and Some are Unique to Humans
- Human cultural learning is extensive; pervades all aspects of our lives
- All human behaviour and thought have been shaped in some way by cultural learning
Humans have Evolved to Accumulate Cultural Information
- Culture must have survival and reproductive value
- Relation between group size in which primate species live and proportion of cerebral cortex in their
- Large brains = adaptive for social living
- Human brain = adept at learning info from others
- Evolution of sophisticated communication skills and a theory of mind (identify intentions of others)
- Language allows humans to communicate needs, describe threats or opportunities, understand
complex social dynamics, and perpetuate cultural ideas
- Theory of mind – accumulate cultural info so it can be preserved and passed on
What Is Cultural Psychology?
Cultural Psychology is the Study of How Culture Shapes Psychological Processes
- Cultural environments = social environments on a larger scale; extends to all aspects of life
- Exploration of cultural psych is guided by:
-> How each person is related to others – accomplishing individual goals and how they seek
belongingness with others = different across cultures
-> Both universal and culturally specific psychologies exist – psychological processes around the world
are universally similar, but pronounced cultural variation in psychological processes exist
-> Social interactions play a role in higher-order psychological processes and could result in differences
among cultures
How Does Culture Affect the Mind?
- Marriage = universality; but practices = different (monogamy, homosexuality, polygamy)
Universal Behaviours, Reactions, and Institutions

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- Sex, Gender and the Family
-> Marriage
-> Males = more aggressive
-> Preference for own kin
- Social Differentiation
-> Age statuses
-> Ingroup/outgroup
-> Leaders
- Social Customs
-> Death rites
-> Hygienic care
-> Gossip
- Emotion
-> Children fear strangers
-> Facial expressions
- Cognition
-> Beliefs in supernatural, religion
-> Language
Culture and Mind are Inextricably Bound
- Participation in a particular culture environment can be seen to shape the mind
-> North American schools (performance-based promotion) vs. Japanese schools (students all
promoted together)
- North American culture values the needs of individuals; Japanese value strong sense of belonging with
one’s peers -> mind shapes culture
There is a Sensitive Period for Learning Culture
- Our ability to learn a new language diminishes with age
- After age 15, difficult to pick up new culture; still attached to your old culture
Cultural Differences in Psychological Processes Become More Pronounced with Age
-Correspondence bias/fundamental attribution error: tendency to explain others’ behaviours by
emphasizing personal attributions over situational attributions
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