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by: Crystal Tran

Ch1.pdf 2344

Crystal Tran

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Notes covered in Professor Tou's PowerPoint on the 1st chapter of the Cultural Psychology, 3rd edition, by Steven J. Heine.
2344 - Cultural Psychology
Reese Tou
Class Notes
Cultural Psychology, University of houston, Reese Tou, PSYC 2344
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Crystal Tran on Saturday February 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 2344 at University of Houston taught by Reese Tou in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views.


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Date Created: 02/20/16
CHAPTER 1 • Culture • Information acquired from other members of a species (ex: norms) • A group of people who have a shared context (geographical, historical, linguistic) • Challenges in definition • “Cultural” boundaries are not distinct and often unclear • Dynamic and evolves over time • Within-culture variation exists just as much as between-culture variation exists General psychology Cultural psychology • Focus on universals • Focus on cultural variation • Human brain = CPU (central • Human brain ≠ CPU (central processing unit) processing unit) • Always reacts the same way • Context and content of thought regardless of context shape each other • Context and content of thought = • Meaning of the feelings, noise thoughts and behaviors • Noise = translation errors, • Minds and culture are entangled discomfort with traditional experimental settings • Obscures understanding of CPU Culturally universal Culturally variable • Number 2 • Numbers beyond 3 • Color “black” • Color “blue” • Smiling to express happiness • Biting one’s tongue to express embarrassment • Cultural brain • Activation of brain structures can be subjected to cultural influences • Shows that the mind is enmeshed with culture • Examples • Taxi driver’s posterior hippocampus volume • Juggler’s grey matter volume • Universality vs. variability • Level of analysis • Abstract definition à evidence supporting universality • Specific definition à evidence supporting variability • Degrees of universality Non-universal (cultural invention) Cognitively Cognitive tool (i.e. psychological phenomena) not available? found in all cultures – other criteria are irrelevant Existential universal (variation in function) Cognitive tool found in all cultures that serves different function(s)and is accessible to a different Same use? degree in different cultures Functional universal (variation in accessibility) Cognitive tool that serves the same function in all same cultures but used to different degrees accessibility? Accessibility universal (no variation) Cognitive tool found in all cultures that serves the same function and is accessible to the same degree • What we know about human psychology • Difficulty in determining what processes are universal or culturally variable • Lack of data to assess such claims about generalizability – data set not big enough to encompass all cultures in the world • Most research originates from W.E.I.R.D societies • Only 4% of psychology participants are from non-Western societies • W.E.I.R.D countries represent only 16% of the world • What we REALLY know • Psychological studies focused on W.E.I.R.D people and societies • Not representative of the rest of the human population • why study cultural psychology • understand full distribution of human psychology • understand implications for variations of cultural aspects Color-blind approach Multicultural approach • emphasizes common human • recognizes that group nature, ignores cultural identities are different differences (especially minorities) • research has demonstrated • ignores such group differences trivial distinctions between tend to lead to negative groups à discrimination responses • importance of cultural psychology • recognize our own ethnocentrism • perceiving one’s own culture as standard as comparison • tendency to judge people from other cultures by comparing them to our own History of Cultural Psychology • Wilhelm Wundt • Father of psychology and created world’s 1 psychological lab in 1879 • Introduced experimental methods in psychology and launched it as a science • Wrote Elements of Folk Psychology (1921) and captures much of the questions of modern cultural psychologists • Russian cultural-historical school • Formed by developmental psychologists Lev Vygotsky, Alexander Luria, Aleksei Leontiev • Argued that people interact with their environments through the “tools” or human-made ideas that have been passed to them across history • Ex: cultural inventions like the wheel, agriculture, democracy • All human thoughts are sustained and expressed through accumulated human- made ideas as practiced in day-to-day activities • “culture and personality studies” • Began just prior to WWII and continuing for a couple of decades • Anthropologists + personality psychologists worked together • Ruth Benedict’s Patterns of Culture (1934) • Culture was for populations as personality was for individuals • Ended for less attention to within-culture variation + no proper research program • Social psychology • Widening use of experimental methods and effort to control study of social nature • Wanting to forcefully consider the influence of people’s social relations on thought • Early to mid 20 century: behaviorism dominated psychology • Mind was considered irrelevant to research • Concerned with observable behaviors influenced through simple-stimulus conditioning • “cognitive revolution” in the 1950s • rejected behaviorism à focused on meaning people create through encounters with their environments • Jerome Bruner • Revolution became distracted by linking computer metaphors to cognitive functions • Believes that cultural psychology picked up where the revolution stopped • Psychological study of culture in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s • John Berry, Michael Bond, Michael Cole, Roy D’Andrade, Ken Gergen, Patricia Greenfield, Geert Hofstede, Walter Lonner, Sylvia Scribner, Marshall Segall, Harold Stevenson • Helped set the stage for re-introduction of culture into mainstream psych. • Most recent version of cultural psychology surfaced with a bunch of seminal papers and books published around the same time • Harry Triandis (1989) • Argued that observed variation across cultures can be understood through cultural dimensions and aspects of the self-concept • Jerome Bruner (1990) • Human psychology can only be understood through meaning in encounters • Stigler, Shweder, Herdt (1990) • Explains how culture can be researched and how mind and culture go together • Hazel Markus and Shinobu Kitagama (1991) • Many psychological processes (cognitions, emotions, motivations) can be viewed through the self concept • Is culture unique to humans • Depends on the definition of culture • Specific definition: culture = “having symbolic meaning” à unique to humans • Abstract definition: culture = “learning through social transmission” à not unique to humans • Cumulative culture • Major differentiation between humans and other animal cultures • Characterized by the ratchet effect • People gradually make modifications and improvements to original tools/ideas • Cultural learning in other species • Many other species display the capacity to have “culture” • Ex: aggressive elephants in South Africa • Ex: killer whales that speak different dialects • Human cultural learning • Unique in the extent of cultural learning • Two (2) ???? characteristics of human cultural learning make it unique • Human cultural learning tends to be quicker than in Speed other species • Years vs. one single exposure • Humans are attuned to cues that signal prestige on the part of the model • Cues used as heuristic to determine whom to learn from • General learning mechanism engages to copy Prestige bias everything the prestigious model does • Maximizes chances of learning successfully • Possibly leads to the transmissions of irrelevant behaviors • Two (2) ???? cognitive abilities • Clearly communicates complicated ideas • Human language has complex grammar and syntax, as well as a rich vocabulary Language • Necessary for successful and precise transmission of cultural ideas à allows for cumulative cultural learning • Ability to understand that others have minds, intentions, and perspectives different from one’s own • Found in humans, not in most other species • Mixed ToM results in chimpanzees • Those trained by humans show some signs of ToM • Those existing in the wild does not show ToM Theory of mind • Imitative vs. emulative learning • Nagel (1993) • 2-year-old children and chimpanzees are shown a model using a rake either “teeth-down” or “teeth-up” (more efficient) • results: chimps always used “teeth- up,” but it varies depending on the model for children Imitative learning Emulative learning • learning internalizes goals and • Learner attempts to figure out behavioral strategies of the model individually how an object can affect • over-imitate models by environment copying everything a model • Focus on how to manipulate does an object to change the • focus is on figuring how to environment fulfill the goal of the model • MORE efficient • LESS efficient • Learner can figure out • Leads one to copy irrelevant effective ways of using a tool behaviors BUT does not allow for • Requires models to exist cultural information to • But allows for faithful and high- accumulate fidelity reproduction of target behavior à allows for cumulative cultural learning • The human brain • Human EQ = 4.6 à 4.6x larger than would be expected given our size • Almost 2x that of chimpanzees – our closest genetic relatives • What we gave up our brain power • The brain is a fat energy hog à consumes 16% of the basal metabolism (even though it only counts for 2% of the total body weight) • Bodies evolved to accommodate increased energy demands • Loss of muscle mass • Smaller digestive tract (aided by the invention of cooking) • Three (3) propositions that require larger brains 1. Fruit consumption 2. Food extraction 3. Social brain • Proven to have highest likelihood of significance by Dunbar (1992) ???????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????? = ???????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????????? • Average group size within which humans evolved = 150 • Dunbar (1993) • Reasoned that if humans were added to the data based on their large neocortex ratio à could estimate the average group size within which humans evolved à 147.8, or approximately 150 people • Surveyed ethnographic accounts of present-day subsistence societies and found that clans (the primary social social unit) average around 148.4 • 150 is about the number of living descendants you would expect from an ancestral human couple to produce after four generations • Dunbar (2011) • Facebook did a survey of its accounts and found that the average number of friends was between 120 and 130 • Goncalves, Perra, & Vespignani (2011) • Analysis of number of Twitter followers that one can maintain consistent interactions with reaches between 100 to 200 • Humans appear to have evolved the cognitive capacities to maintain relationships of around 150 people • >150 – too unwieldy to mange without some kind of formal institutional structure • <150 – loses advantage of having large numbers • Humans are particularly social • Herman (2007) • Contrasted the learning abilities of three primates: chimpanzees, orangutans, and 2-year-old human children • Some tasks involved general problem-solving skills about the physical world and some involved social learning • Results • Physical problem solving: all of them did about the same in amount of correct responses • Social problem solving: the two-year-old children did significantly better than the other two.


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