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ifaluk culture

ifaluk culture


● What are emotions and why is it important to study them?

why emotions are important?

○ Considering the fact that we are social creatures, emotions are of important value because they shape how we feel and interact in our everyday social interactions. Emotions allow us to individually determine a situation and they drive our actions based on that interpretation. This individual interpretation of an emotion is dependant on our cultural context.

■ Emotions are learned through culture (see jealousy/depression)

○ 3 kinds of emotion

■ Basic

● These emotions are universally felt throughout the world, in varying ways depending on cultural context→ (ie­monogamy vs polygamy

(see below))

○ Core emotions according to Ekman Darwin

■ joy

■ distress

■ anger

■ fear

■ surprise

■ disgust

○ core emotions according to Goleman

■ anger

■ sadness

■ fear

■ enjoyment

what are the three kinds of emotions?

■ love

■ surprised

■ disgust

■ shame

■ Culturally specific

● These emotions can and are only learned by the specific culture

people grow up in. I..e­

○ Amae­an emotion that only exists in the Japanese culture,

since it is only taught, learned and named within their

cultural context, only the Japanese can [clearly] experience

this emotion (see naming an emotion for why this

naming→ categorizing is important)

○ Acting out as wild pigs (Found within Gurumba tribe)

■ Men ages 20­25 act as if they are wild pigs, raid the

streets, attack others, steal etc. in response to the

social and financial struggles of becoming an adult

■ Acting out as a wild pig is an emotion restricted to We also discuss several other topics like dominguez hills nursing

the Gurumba (learned through social interactions

within the culture), this allows young men to “blow

what are the key emotions according to paul ekman?

off steam” (to cope with the demands of their


○ Ifaluk­

■ Nunuwan

● Display of mental events ranging from

thought to emotion (the more one has, is

seen as a sign of maturity)

■ Tip

● Individual urges, emotions or desires that

belonging to the individual himself within the


■ Fago

● Combination of compassion/love/sadness

● Expresses an understanding of one’s

suffering/plight and a willingness to take

action (to care for that person)

■ Song

● A justifiable/moral/acceptable anger within

the Ifaluk (see below)

■ Higher cognitive

● These emotions are not so automatically felt as the basic emotions. They require time to develop and hence, they require cognitive and conscious awareness/brain processing (i.e)­ ○ love

○ guilt Don't forget about the age old question of by the end of middle childhood, the capacity of long-term memory is:

○ shame

○ jealousy

○ embarrassment

○ pride

○ envy

■ Furthermore, these 7 higher cognitive emotions, to We also discuss several other topics like tenochititlán

an extent, are universally felt, but in varying degrees

(in different ways) depending on cultural context

● No universal facial expression

● These emotions may overlap with each

other (do not have boundaries)

● Can be easily “co­opted into service” (we

can make ourselves feel these emotions)

■ However, the components of love are universally

felt the same way

● Sexual attraction

● Intense joy when significant other is present

and sadness and longing when they are not

● How do emotions drive our actions?

○ Indeed, emotions are behaviors learned by our culture but our actions are determined by individual interpretation. Furthermore, our individual interpretation, is dependent on the the types of symbols we apply to different social interactions ○ 3 premises

■ Humans respond to things based on the meaning assigned to those things

■ Meanings are socially/culturally derived

■ Interpretations of symbols are derived by the individual's own thoughts ○ Symbols are important because it is symbols that make us social human beings. Furthermore, we learn the meaning of symbols through our everyday social interactions (culture) and depending on the meaning applied to that symbol, which is dependent upon our cultural context, defines the course of action that we take towards a situation We also discuss several other topics like qutonomo

○ Symbols are abstract representations used to attach meaning to things, actions and events. Depending on the meaning we apply to symbols (based on individual interpretation), that we learn from social interaction (culture), defines how we respond to those symbols. (I.e)

■ Fire alarm

● symbolizes danger which we learn from social interaction

■ Crosshair

● Symbol that is used to represent the target of a gun→ mentally

unstable man shoots Gabrielle Giffords (and injures several Don't forget about the age old question of chapter 7 aquatic ecosystems study guide answers

others) which is questioned to be caused by an advertisement of

red crosshairs on a map (made by Sarah Palin, targeting

legislators who voted for Obama) If you want to learn more check out What are the three main parts of human cells?

■ Hand gestures

● Hand gestures are applied different meanings depending on

cultural context. I.e the peace sign; a sign of wanting world peace

in the American culture, the number 2 within sign language, victory

during the world war, insulting gesture if facing inward in England

● (Hand gestures are given different meanings depending on one’s

cultural context (social interactions))

○ 3 key points about symbols

■ Symbols are critical because they are our reality

■ Symbols make social life possible

■ Symbols make social humans possible (we are socialized through symbols)

● Without symbols, we do not respond to the meaning assigned to

things but to the innate stimulus itself. Thus we lose all

understanding of things without symbols (cultural ideas, norms


○ The ultimate symbol­ language

■ By allowing us a form of communication, language shapes our perception of the world and through the use of naming phenomenon such as emotions (categorizing), they allow us to apply meaning to those events/categories

● By naming a certain phenomenon, we apply a certain

meaning to that phenomenon and in turn, the meaning (which shapes our individual interpretation of the phenomenon

which is learned through social interaction), determines the course of action that we take

● For example, saliva or spit. Ultimately, saliva and spit is the same substance but through the name we give that substance, defines our interpretation of it (the meaning), which in turn defines the

course of action that we take.

○ This substance is carried in our mouth all day [saliva] and

therefore, it is swallowed all day. Would you drink your own

saliva once it is removed from your mouth and it becomes

spit? Most likely not. But why? It is the same substance? It

is because the different name applied to that substance,

defines our individual interpretation of that substance.

And through our individual interpretation, defines the course

of action that we take (whether to drink the saliva/spit or


■ By naming the substance saliva, we interpret this

substance as a normal and mundane bodily fluid

(that is not gross) but once we name it spit, this

substance becomes disgusting. And as humans,

we respond to the interpretation of this

substance (defines the course of action that we


○ Naming an emotion such as Amae allows the Japanese

culture to clearly experience this emotion (taught by

culture), others not from the Japanese culture, may

experience this emotion but without a specific name, it

may go unnoticed (naming an emotion is crucial because

naming a phenomenon, gives meaning to that phenomenon

(spit vs saliva))

○ What is the purpose of the amygdala?

■ The Amygdala is the small part of your brain responsible for processing emotions. It is the Amygdala that drives you to act within a situation. Sometimes, this process may occur so fast, that we take action

before we even process what is going on (emotional hijacking) ie­senses go straight to the amygdala

■ Thus, it can be said that we have two brains­ a thinking brain and a feeling brain. Emotional intelligence is when we find a balance between the two. This is what is meant to respond rationally­that we process the situation before we take a course of action

● Whereas an irrational response is when we respond to situations based on mere impulses (involves no brain processing)

● when we respond to these emotional impulses automatically without thinking­is an emotional hijacking (we lose control of who we are) ie­

○ man jumps into a pool when he sees a girl staring in fear at

the water, he does not have time to process the situation

but clearly, something is wrong, he jumps into the water

and ends up saving a child (he did not even realize what he

was doing after the event (it was his amygdala that drove

him to jumping into the water before the man could even

process what was going on))

○ burglar shoots and kills a woman out of fear when she tells

him that she was going to do everything in her power to

make him pay (incarceration etc)­burglar becomes scared

and simply shoots her; years later, he swears that he didn’t

even realize what was happening during the time

■ Responses to emotion, depend on the type of society one is from (according to Horwitz)

● communal

○ emotions are shared among the entire community, if one's

emotions become a problem for the individual, they

become a problem (a concern) for everyone within the

community­see the ifaluk

● individual

○ emotions belong to the individual himself and therefore

must be dealt with by the individual himself

○ what is the self then, according to everything we have discussed, and how does one form “a self?”

■ According to everything we have discussed, the self is neither biological nor sociological, it is not a question of nature vs nurture. what makes the self, is both. it is our individual feelings, it is emotions and it is how we respond to those emotions that make us who we

● this can be exemplified with someone suffering from depression vs someone who is physically depressed

○ in both cases, people feel a deep sense of sadness. but

someone who is merely depressed, is sad with reason.

whereas a depressed person, may or may not have a

reason. ie­

■ in the first case, the one who is sad for a reason,

his depression does not define him­since we can

say that his sadness is a temporary state that will

soon diminish

■ in the second case however, depression does

define the depressed individual. he may or may not

have a cause but his depression, is not a temporary

state of feeling. the author describes depression as

a severe state of being sad, it drives one crazy and

it feels like one is on the verge of death. it is

permanent and therefore must be treated, by drugs

or different methods. solomon argues however, that

depression is not just some illness that can go

away (as is in the first case), therefore drugs do not

actually target the cause. instead they mask the

emotional state by completely transforming the

individual into an entirely different person.

● however, the boundaries within a depressed

person are blurry and thus, it is hard to say,

what the true sense of self is

○ Lutz on the Ifaluk islanders

■ The ifaluk islanders are a group of people located within the Ifaluk islands, north of Australia. This island is isolated from the surrounding environment and typhoons are very common. Therefore, it must be emphasized that the Ifaluk, are a very vulnerable people. This is important because by the mere fact that the Ifaluk are so vulnerable, it thus follows that each and every individual depends on the other for support and/for whatever reason. The Ifaluk therefore respond to emotion communally­ their perception of emotion is that emotions are a communal phenomenon (belong to the community as a whole), thus, the Ifaluk experience emotion in a much more intense manner which in turn, demonstrates the emphasis they place on relationships. ie­

● Emphasis on sharing

○ The Ifaluk pretty much share everything (what is mine is

yours), except for when the community has enough of

something such as clothing

■ The Ifaluk ensure that each gender's’ clothes (men

and women) are hidden from sight when not being

worn. This is because clothing, which is specific to

each gender such as dresses for women etc.,

reminds the Ifaluk that they are different from each

other (due to gender) and is therefore, gender which

separates one from another (this is important

because the Ifaluk are an emotional communal

community and see that each and every individual

is essentially one in the same, thus, gender pulls

them apart)

● Emotions can be transcended to others

○ Emotions, because they belong to the community as a

whole can be transcended to others; meaning that one's

longing/sadness for another such as a sisters’ longing for

her brother, can make the one being longed for, sick (the

brother in this case)

● Examples of emotions (see above for definitions)

○ Nunuwan

○ Tip

○ Fago

○ Song

○ What does research on the Ifaluk islanders, teach us about emotions? ■ In my opinion, Lutz research demonstrates that emotions are both a cultural and biological phenomenon (everything defining an emotion as demonstrated above (culture→ emotion→ interpretation→ action etc)) ○ What is the purpose of the study of depression?

■ The purpose of studying depression, I believe, is that it demonstrates how emotion are caused by both cultural and biological factors. For example, in a cultural context, through social interaction, we are taught how to perceive different situations and how to act towards those

interpretations­just as jealousy, in the way that we get jealous by seeing our significant other flirting with someone else because in American culture, we are taught to value monogamy whereas in another culture who values polygamy­jealousy would just be ridiculous. But, depression is more than cultural as seen, it might be caused by biological factors such as depression that occurs in genes (within the family), children being at higher risk to suffer from depression if their mother is depressed etc. But, everyone experiences depression in different ways, no two individuals will be suffering from depression in the exact same way. People may have a reason to be depressed or they may not. Thus, each individual will respond to depression based on his own interpretation of his situation and each individual will to, respond to that depression in a different way ie­anorexia, isolate himself, insecure, self­harm, drug abuse etc

○ What differences in social factors make in the causation, identification, exhibition and possibly treatment of an emotion?

● Inuit in greenland?

○ Well environmentally, the Inuit suffer from extremely cold conditions, they live in houses made of seal fat, and are ultimately isolated from others both socially and physically. Therefore, depression rates are high in which 80% of the population/ 1 out of every 4 individuals, suffers from depression. This is interesting because to an extent, they have better living conditions than others. For example, they have universal healthcare, basically no crime rates etc. So why are their depression rates so high?

■ One factor, obviously, are there physical conditions. Again, they live in a really cold climate, forced to hunt for food, almost no heat.

● SAD­ seasonal

○ for three consecutive months, the

Inauit live in total darkness due to the

sun not rising

● Also have no trees which means no fire

● Only one phone per village

● One generator

○ So for three consecutive solid

months, all people do is stay in their

houses and watch the [seal fat] melt

■ Another reason, may be due to their transition from a traditional way of life to a modern way of life

■ Another factor, is that it is usual to have big families in which having as many as 10 children is common ● This is an issue because having more kids

means that one has more mouths to feed

and because the Inuit must hunt for their

food in order to feed those 10 kids, they are

constantly outdoors hunting for food­ in

extremely cold and harsh conditions in

which one may get frostbite etc

■ According to Solomon, there are high rates of depression because there is basically no

communication within the village. Not in the sense that the villagers do not talk to each other but in the sense of how they talk to each other

● Within this context, every single individual

struggles on a daily basis. Furthermore, they

are close as a community. Because of

these two facts, that they are close and they

all struggle, people do not want to burden

others with their own emotional problems,

adding to the burden that others already

have. Rather, they keep their emotions

bottled up.

● Furthermore, it is perceived that depression is a sign of weakness, so if one member in

the village sees that another “looks”

depressed, he does not say anything

because he would basically be calling the

other (the depressed) weak. Therefore, the

one suffering from depression, is literally on

his own

■ So what do their emotions look like?

● A lot of anxiety followed by trauma

● Mountain wandering

○ Someone from the village,

spontaneously decides to leave

● Kayak anxiety (paranoia)

○ belief that one's kayak is full of water

which will cause the one inside to


■ Thus, depression among the Inuit is caused by how they deal with it

● Keep it bottled up

■ Therefore, depression occurs within context. It is not a question of whether nature or nurture is the cause of depression­it is caused by both, one

influencing the other and vice versa­just like the inuit­because of their physical circumstances

(nature) they are reared to believe that they must not burden others with their emotional problems (nurture)

○ Gender

■ Twice as many women, suffer from depression than men. Why?

■ 2 factors­

● Biological

○ Different levels of hormones such as

estrogen make women susceptible

to three resulting kinds of depression

that only they suffer from

■ Post­Partum

■ Constant child care add to

higher stress levels

■ Study showed that women

who have a partner to help in

child care had lower rates of


■ Menopausal

■ Menstrual

■ These three types of

depression that only women

can biologically suffer from,

adds to their stress levels

which influences their rate of


● Sociological

○ Women have less power and are

thus disenfranchised in a society

dominated by men (portrayed as

biologically, socially, culturally etc.


○ Women are more susceptible to


■ Higher percentage of sexual

abuse among girls→


○ Women are more likely to be poor

○ Women are more likely to be less

educated than men

○ Women are more likely to be

subordinate to their husbands

■ i.e­for financial reasons

○ Women are more likely to be isolated

■ Stuck at home (housewife)

■ Men

● Have higher rates of mental illnesses such

as autism

● More likely to commit suicide than women

● More likely to act out on violence

○ ethnicity

■ different ethnicities have varying rates of depression

■ self­perception of the cultural standards one must meet influences depression (physically strong, don't cry etc)

■ depression is exhibited by culture

● latinos

○ more likely to Somaticize depression

(turn emotional pain to a physical


■ leg pain, back pain etc

○ education influences on depression

■ the more educated, the less

depressed they are

● blacks

○ social pressure of being strong

■ depression is


● russians

○ culturally known to complain a lot

○ sexual orientation

■ people who define themselves as homosexuals are more likely to be depressed­almost 4 times as

higher than straight men

■ the rate goes extremely higher if men are gay→ so does suicide rate

■ closeted gay men have higher rates of depression than those who are out

■ likely causes

● experience more hate crime

○ homophobia

● more likely to be isolated

● higher rates of unstable relationships

● prone to STDs such as AIDS

○ poverty

■ those living below the poverty line are more likely to be depressed than those above the line.

■ more than half the women on welfare are clinically depressed

■ possible causes

● less money for treatment

● more economic hardships

● more financial problems

○ less money for leisure/fun

● less education

● isolation

○ less social support = higher rates of


○ loneliness is an extreme factor for


■ being alone is just as bad as

smoking (likelier to become


○ those with social support do better in


● overtime, develop a sense of learned


○ there is nothing that ¨they¨ can do to

fix their situation (helplessness (give

up trying))

● belle

○ women are more likely to give

support but receive less support


● brown

○ working class are more likely to be

depressed than middle class

■ middle class women have

more social support

(groups/someone to

talk/more friends (confidante)

■ stress without social support

causes more stress

■ middle class are more aware

of their depression → get


■ naming the condition is an

essential step to help with


○ suicide

■ Suicide is the second cause of death among college students. It is responsible for more deaths worldwide than war and homicide (1998)

● committed every 17 mins in US

● 20% of those with major depression will kill


● those who have tried suicide will try again

● those who talk about suicide are more likely to kill themselves

● suicides are contagious

○ social currents

○ suicides are more likely to occur in


● ⅓ of suicidal attempts are caused by


● higher suicide rates among adults who experienced trauma in childhood

● 18­24 yr olds are more likely to commit suicide

● the higher the education, the more likely it is that one will kill himself

● older people are more likely to commit suicide than younger people

■ Emile durkheim on suicide

● egoistic

○ Egoistic suicide is the result of one´s

integration to society

○ The more isolated you are within

society, the more likely you are to kill


● altruistic

○ people kill themselves when they are

too integrated within society such as

a martyr who kills himself for

religious purposes

■ suicide bomber etc

● anomic

○ suicide is the result to a lack of

norms/no social control/no purpose

■ ie­economic disaster/boom

● fatalistic

○ suicide is the result from one´s loss

of hope (life can't be fixed)

■ Durkheim's purpose with suicide was to demonstrate how suicide is a social phenomenon rather than a psychological one. While the act of suicide is committed by the individual himself, his actions are sociological (perception is influenced by culture, values and customs). For example, egoistic suicide is caused by a decrease in social

integration (isolation), not by the inner feeling of

loneliness, while this is a factor, it is the individual's perception of that loneliness which is thus learned through social interaction, that drives him to suicide ○ Paris syndrome

■ pertain to the Japanese who breakdown after visiting Paris­due to disappointment

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