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Chapter 3

PSY321H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Michael Tomasello, Ecological Systems Theory, Margaret Mead

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Simone Walker

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Chapter 3
Humans Engage in Cultural Learning
Humans can get into another person’s mind, see things from that person’s point
of view, understand the intentions of that person, and understand that the
person understands our own intentions too
“Cultural learning” isn’t only learning from others but through others
Michael Tomasello studied chimps/orangutan’s and 2yo child
o Child was more sophisticated, understood intentionality, social learning,
and social communication on a much deeper level than the apes
B/c humans are intrinsically able to learn from one another and collaborate
together as a group on a much more complex and larger scale than all other
animals, only humans are capable to creating culture
Enculturation and Socialization
Socialization is the process by which we learn and internalize the rules and
patterns of the society in which we life
o Occurs over a long time, involves learning and mastering societal norms,
attitudes, values, and belief systems
o This process starts the very first day of life
o Refers to the actual process and mechanisms by which people learn the
rules of societywhat is said to whom and in which contexts
Enculturation process by which youngsters learn and adopt the ways and
manners of their specific culture
o Refers to the products of the of the socialization processthe subjective,
underlying, psychological aspects of culture that become internalized
through development
Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory of human development (PAGE 66)
o Microsystem immediate surroundings
Family, school, peer group
o Mesosystem linkages b/w Microsystems
b/w family and school
o Exosystem context that indirectly affects children
Parent’s workplace
o Macrosystem
Culture, religion, society
o Chronosystem influence of time and history on the other systems
Super and Harkness’ development niche
o Physical and social setting
o Customs of child care and child rearing
o Psychology of caregivers
Culture, Parenting, and Families

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Most important microsystem to a child’s development is the family
Margaret Mead proposed that by observing parents, we are observing the
essence of culture
Whiting and Whiting’s Six Cultures Study
Collected field data in Mexico, India, Kenya, USA, Okinawa, and the Philippines
Major focus was to thoroughly examine child rearing and children’s behaviour in
these varied cultural contexts
Researches documented how the natural environment shaped how households
were structured, which in turn shaped how parents raised their children to fit
into that particular society
Woman’s work roles contributed greatly to the survival base of they family
such as in sub-Saharan Africa where women were the major food providersthe
children learned to share in family responsibilities and scored low on
dependence (e.g. seeking comfort and support, seeking help and info, seeking
approval, praise or attention
In contrast, in cultures in which women weren’t expected to substantially
contribute to the survival of the familysuch as for high-caste families in
Khalapur, Indiathe children scored high on dependence
The study clearly demonstrated that variations in the natural and cultural
environment were linked to variations in child-rearing patterns and this, in turn,
was liked to children’s behaviours and personalities
Diversity in Parenting as a Function of Economics
Parenting and child rearing often occur in very diff economic conditions in diff
countries and cultures, and even w/in one culture
If society has a high rate of infant mortality, parenting efforts may concentrate
on meeting basic physical needs
LeVine theorized that the caregiving environment reflects a set of goals that are
ordered in importance
1. First is physical health and survival
2. The promotion of behaviours that will lead to self-sufficiency
3. The behaviours that promote other cultural values, such as prestige
Parenting Goals and Beliefs
Parenting goals provide the motivation and framework for what parents think is
the best way to raise their children
Germany: an important goal of parenting is to raise children who are
o During infancy, parents recognize and emphasize that their child is a
separate person w/ unique thoughts, wishes, desires, and needs
o Talked to infant about intentions, thoughts, emotions, and needs
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