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Chapter 16

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Chapter 16Cultural PsychologyPeoples brain function the same around the world so we dont have to question how well fundamental neuronal processes generalizeIn the case of higher order psychological processes in which social interactions play a key role it is less clear how these processes will emerge across culturesThe MullerLyer Illusion carpentered corners the line on the left indented wall looks longer because the angles at the corners suggest that it is further away than the line on the right People who are raised in cultures where there are not carpentered corners are not susceptible to this illusion Field emerged for two reasonsoCulture plays a prominent role in our mental livesoTo see if behaviors and mental processes are the same in all cultures Two key themes in cultural psychologyoHow do people sense self related to otherswhich can give rise to the way of thinkingoUniversal and culturally specific psychologies existWhat is Culture Culture it is the beliefs values rules and customs of a group of people who share a language and environment and these beliefs values rules and customs are transmitted through learning from one generation to anotherA broader definition is that culture is any kind of info acquired by individuals through imitative or social learningSome Aspects of culture are shared by other species and some are unique to humansImitative learning monkeys learns about potato washing from observation Dolphins use distinctive sounds for each other in much the same way humans use namesCultural leanings is not restricted to the most intelligent animal species even pigeons and guppies have shown limited evidence of learning from othersHumans then are not unique in being able to learn cultural infoMoreover human cultural learning is so extensive that unlike cultural learning in other animals it pervades all aspects of our livesThe languages we speak the ways we seek mates the work we perform the tools we use the shelters we live in the leisure activities we pursue and the ways we relate to othersall are cultural productsIn contrast the cultural learning identified in other species has thus far been limited to specific and often isolated aspects of their behaviours It is the unique pervasiveness of culture in human lives that allows us to say that humans are the only true cultural speciesHumans have evolved to Accumulate cultural infoCerebral Cortex Ratio the larger the average group that a species lives in the larger is the proportion of their brain that is made up of the cerebral cortexHumans social nature appears to have been a key factor in the evolution of the human brainThe larger the average group size the larger the cerebral cortex ratioThis suggests that human brain evolved to be as big as they are because the cognitive capacities of a large brain were highly adaptive for social livingSocial living required the evolution of two capacities that are largely unique to humans
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