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Anthropology 101: Week 2 Notes

by: Alyssa Gonzales

Anthropology 101: Week 2 Notes Anthropology 101

Alyssa Gonzales

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These notes cover week two of lecture, including definitions of key terms
Introduction to General Anthropology
Cara Monroe
Class Notes
key terms, Anthropology, evolution, Culture, symbolic culture, shared culture, adaptive culture, acculturation, ethnogenesis, meme, Biology, emulation, imitation, cultural transmission, revision, Adaptation, genotype, phenotype, mutation, epigenetic, gene
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alyssa Gonzales on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anthropology 101 at Washington State University taught by Cara Monroe in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 45 views. For similar materials see Introduction to General Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at Washington State University.


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Date Created: 01/28/16
Anthropology 101 – Week 2 What is Culture Acronym for culture: LISSA L – earned I – ntegrative S – ymbolic S – hared A – daptive Learned – Culture is learned through either vertical, horizontal, oblique transmission  Vertical transmission is when one generation shares something that they have learned with the next generation. For example, when a mother shares with her daughter how she learned to cook.  Horizontal transmission is when a person shares information they have learned with a peer. For example, when a student shows their friend how to do a math problem.  Oblique transmission is when someone who is not a child’s parent shares information with them, which leads to generation to generation sharing. For example, if a grandfather shows his grandson how to fish. Integrated Culture  Culture is a part of everyday life. For example, many people in America drink coffee every morning, which is becoming a cultural norm, whereas in London, they drink tea every afternoon.  These forms of culture can be integrated through people performing these rituals everyday, and the rituals becoming advertised nationally, which leads to more people participating in them. Symbolic Culture  Definition: Using something to represent another object/concept o Ex: WSU logo, rites of adolescence, language, etc.  Myth resolves environmental problems o Many cultures believe in myths that have been told throughout their history to help solve reasons for draught, famine, or other environmental hindrances that they cannot explain in any other rational form. Shared Culture  Culture is a group experience, and many different people can view their same culture differently  Ex: Someone who is of the American culture might believe that the ultimate “American” sport is football, while others will disagree that it is baseball Adaptive Culture  An adaptation is a biological trait that helps a certain organism to thrive in their environment  Being adaptive is a behavioral trait that allows an individual to change either emotionally or physically to make the best of their environment.  Culture can be maladaptive o Ex: Factories can cause environmental problems such as asthma, cancer, allergies, and pollution. o Ex: Bottle feeding can lead to polluted water Cultural Constraints  Émile Durkheim – believed that culture was outside us, and exerted a strong coercive power over us. o Definition: Norms are rules about what are acceptable behaviors  Ex: Male and female bathrooms, gay marriage, abortion, etc.  Social norms can change over time Cultural Changes  Cultures can change by unconscious invention (someone happened to invent something on accident; i.e. post-it note adhesive that was meant to be stronger) or by intentional invention (there was a problem and somebody thought of a solution; i.e. a toothbrush to get plaque off teeth).  Definition: Diffusion is when cultural elements are borrowed from one culture to another o Religion, bow and arrow technology, food, etc. o Some people believe that it is risky to change anything in the culture unless there’s a specific reason or purpose for it, so they don’t  Definition: Acculturation is the result of intensive contact between two groups o There is normally an unequal distribution of power (meaning one is more powerful than the other) o Ex: European settlers and the Native Americans  Definition: Ethnogenesis is the emergence of new cultures o These new cultures can be created in a number of ways such as depopulation, relocation, enslavement, and genocide o Most people create new cultures because they must adapt to new people and environments once they are forced to relocate. o While these cultures are new, they are a fusion of the old culture and new culture coming together, which proves how flexible a society can be Future of Cultural Diversity  Globalization minimizes cultural diversity because having so many different people in so many different parts of the world is going to lead to many different cultures in many different places, meaning that we as humans are all going to mesh together eventually.  Ex: You can see baseball hats being worn in almost any country you go to, which was primarily a sign of American culture before recently  People don’t wear traditional clothing anymore, which leads to a less diverse population overall, if everybody starts wearing the same things  However, there is a resurgence of people trying to relearn old languages and go back to their cultural roots, which can help to create subcultures, leading to an increase in cultural diversity once again Cultural Transmission and Evolution  Definition: A meme is the smallest unit of cultural transmission o A meme can be passed down from one individual to another by non-genetic means. Ex: A child imitating their mother  Biology affects culture in many ways. For example, we have taste buds which allow us to think that sweet things taste good, cold and wet things make us miserable, sex is pleasurable, and sour things taste bitter. o These differences have effects on marriage customs, cuisine, and the construction of shelters because many people believe that sex before marriage is a sin, you must eat certain things if you live in certain regions, and feng shui is important to many household constructs.  Culture affects biology in many different ways as well. For example, the way you eat because of where you live or your culture can affect your gene frequencies. o Ex: Inuit people have more Omega-3 Acids because of the mainly-fish diet that they consume How Culture is Learned  How a trait is acquired can affect its frequency and stability  Humans are good at copying, which means that if we see something we like, we will automatically take it and act like it was our own idea. However, this can lead to maladaptive behaviors as well, such as believing women must be extremely thin, or men must be extremely muscular.  Definition: Emulation is when one observes and tries to emulate the result or product rather than all of the steps that lead up to the result o Ex: A monkey sees a human hunt for ants with a stick, the monkey will then use the stick himself to hunt for ants, but they won’t necessarily use the same technique that the human did  Definition: Imitation is the process-based learning when one observes and copies all of the steps that lead up to the result o Ex: A toddler sees his older sister play with a toy car, he will then use his toy car in the same exact motions that she does, copying every twist and turn she makes.  Culture is accumulative, which means that it can build upon itself as the people/animals within it learn how to adapt or evolve to new surroundings.  Definition: Individual learning is when someone sets out on their own to try and solve a problem they are having. o It is expensive and dangerous, as you could hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing o Ex: Someone is in the woods and they brush up against a leaf, they might not know whether or not that leaf is poison ivy, and could they could be extremely allergic to it.  Definition: Social learning is learning that has already been done by someone in the culture. o This is not as costly, and can be less dangerous for the person/people involved o Ex: The person who was in the woods read a book previous to going outside, and knows that he isn’t in danger because he brushed up against a 2-leafed plant, not a 3-leafed one which is poison ivy. Cultural Transmission Two types of Cultural Transmission: 1. Definition: Unbiased cultural transmission is when someone is not influenced on why they do or don’t want something a. Ex: Grabbing the first thing you see on the grocery shelf, just because you need something and you need it quickly. b. This is not a very common type of cultural transmission, as nobody would be able to explain why or how they chose to do whatever they’re doing in a meaningful way 2. Definition: Biased cultural transmission is when someone is being influenced by a certain person, group of people, or social norm a. Ex: buying something because you like the brand (i.e. Nike, Adidas, etc.) b. This can result because of genetic preferences, cultural traits, or both  Context biases include: o Prestige bias (based on how important something is to an individual/culture) o Skill bias (if somebody is extremely good at something, such as athletes, accountants, professors, they are more likely to be trusted when they talked about certain topics) o Success bias (You are more likely to believe Bill Gates when he advises you about financial decisions than you are your mother because he has had more success and experience in that field than she has) o Similarity bias (You are more likely to believe in a theory or concept if you have heard or seen something similar to it before, as you feel more comfortable with previous knowledge than new knowledge)  Definition: Conformist bias is when you do something because everybody else is doing it o Ex: Wear red to a WSU football game instead of purple because you hate the Huskies  Definition: You don’t do something because everybody else is doing it o Ex: Wear purple to a WSU football game even though you hate the Huskies  Definition: “Evolution is a gradual process in which organisms change over time, creating descendants that differ morphologically and physiologically from their ancestors” – Charles Darwin  Definition: Revision is the change in a gene pool by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift o Darwin talked only about natural selection in his theory from the Galapagos Islands  Definition: An adaptation is a heritable trait that increases survival and reproduction in a species o Ex: Finches grew larger beaks so that they could adapt to the larger seeds that were left once the draught occurred  Definition: Fitness is the number of offspring compared to others in same population o Fitness in Anthropology is not what is normally considered as “fitness” in the U.S. for example, someone could be extremely fat, and have 10 children and be considered to have incredible fitness in Anthropological terms.  Definition: Genotype is the entire collection of genes o It is the genetic sequence, and you cannot see them, but they make up the phenotypic traits which is what you can see. o Both genotype and phenotype include the morphology, behavior, and products of behavior Other Evolutionary Forces Natural Selection:  Environmental factors exert pressure  Favors some individuals in reproduction; the strong survive, and the weak die off  Definition: A mutation is a change in DNA o Mutations can be beneficial, neutral, or harmful, but are mostly random o Mutations are the ultimate source of variation o Rates for mutations are actually quite low o Only a small number of mutations actually increase fitness o They increase diversity within and between populations, as these mutations can be passed down to offspring, or the offspring acquire their own mutations based on their parents o Mutation alone can’t change allele frequencies of a population very quickly  Definition: Epigenetics is a chemical modification affecting how DNA unravels and whether genes turn on or off o Epigenetics controls gene regulation o Epigenetic marks can be inherited Genetic DNA  Genetic DNA is a natural process which results in random changes in allele frequency over time  Causes genes to disappear, which leads to a reduction in genetic variation  Creates the Founder Effect which is an extreme form of genetic variation where inbreeding or a mutation can occur that reduces genetic diversity because of the small number of ancestors that a specific culture comes from o Ex: Amish people  Definition: Gene flow is any movement of genes from one population to another o Can be done using non-random mating:  Arranged marriages  Amish people  Can lead to an increased disease rate because of such inbreeding and low number of ancestors Evolution  Evolution is a collection of observations/facts that occur over and over throughout history  It has been repeatedly documented that individual species change Natural Selection  Operates at the level of the individual and their individual fitness  Natural selection is like a near-sighted person, they can’t see far away, and can only see immediately in front of them. o Natural selection only takes the strongest at the time, doesn’t care if there are other adaptations that might have been useful in the past or might be useful in the future  Red Queen Hypothesis: It takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place Darwin’s Three Postulates 1. The struggle for existence a. The ability of a population to expand is infinite, however, the ability of an environment to support the population is finite i. There is a carrying capacity, for which the environment can no longer handle all of the individuals in a population, so natural selection must occur b. There is competition with people within and outside of populations i. Ex: Predator-prey relationships, war 2. Differential reproductive success a. Organisms vary and this affects survival and reproduction b. Individuals with favorable variations are the most likely to reproduce c. This postulate is the engine that drives natural selection i. Key is reproduction because key traits will be passed down 3. Inheritance a. Variations are transmitted from parent to offspring and are therefore heritable i. Ex: HIV resistance ii. Viruses and bacteria often acquire traits that are resistible to drugs, making them harder to get rid of Darwin’s Finches  Went through adaptive radiation: organisms diversify rapidly into a multitude of new forms from a common ancestor  Struggle for existence on island called Daphne Major: resources are always limited o Draught on Daphne Major added greatly to the struggle for existence  Effect on population size was great. In 1976 there were 1200 birds, and by 1978 there were only 180 individuals o Draught causes shift in food supply  Led to change in selective pressure which leads to a change in fitness o Bigger beaks get to live over smaller beaks because they are able to eat a wider variety of seeds  When the draught ends, the plants start to grow seeds again, and the birds start adapting with smaller beaks again


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