CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY STEVEN J. HEINE Norton Media Library Chapter 1 Culture and Human Nature STEVEN J. HEINE Building the argument Psychological processes are shaped by culture Constraints and affordances of our biological self Same across culture Key question To what extent should ways of _____look similar around world because of basic brain structure, and to what extent should they look different because of divergent experiences (culture) Universal vs. culturally variable psychologies. What is culture? Can we define it? Shweder’s definition “Culture is a reality lit up by morally enforceable conceptual scheme composed of values (desirable goals) and causal beliefs (including ideas about means-ends connections) that is exemplified or instantiated in practice” Culture serves as a flexible learning system that transforms basic biological capacities into meaningful thoughts and behaviours shared by members of the cultural group (Shweder, 1995). Cultural membership does not determine individual response Within cultures there is extreme variability Is culture uniquely human? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhacaxJ24 0Q What is uniquely human? Imitation of prestige 2 capacities: Ability to consider the perspective of others Ability to communicate with language Theory of mind People understand that others have minds that are different from their own and others have intentions that are different from their own When do we develop theory of mind? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiT7HFj2gv4 Emulative learning: interested in what the model is doing, not what it is intended to do. Imitative learning: the learner internalizes the model’s goals and behavioral strategies Big brains allow for cultural learning Encephalization quotient: ratio of the brain weight to that of a comparable animal with same body size: 4.6 (chimps 2.5) 16% of our basal metabolism Three hypotheses 1. 2. 3. Fruit Extractive food source Social world Social brain hypothesis The socialness of humans involved complex power struggles, relationships, nepotism, reciprocity. The primates most successful at navigating the intricate web of social relationships more likely to attract mates, secure resources, and protect themselves. Some evidence Neocortex ratio through fMRI Looked at all species to test these three theories Social complexity and group size Child rearing 50,000 years ago we began to walk upright. Our pelvis’ changed to do this. Our babies needed to be born more altricial (vulnerable) With upright walking, we began hunting in groups and living with larger clans. Social relatedness needed to care for very altricial young. 150 Dunbar (1993) used that data to plot and predict average human group size based on neocortex size. 147.8 Surveyed ethnographic data and found historically we lived in overnight camps of 35-40, tribes of 1,500-2,000 and clans of 148. 150 is average number people produced from 4 generations of offspring. (what we might create in our lives) Peer pressure and 150 Hutterites in south Dakota divide communities when they reach 150 Gor-Tex builds a new plant when employment reaches 150 Institutionalized structure needed for groups larger than this. Is the mind independent from or intertwined with culture What do you think? Doctrine of original multiplicity Original multiplicity The unity of human beings is not to be found in that which makes us common and all the same, but rather in a universal original multiplicity, which makes each of us so variegated that others become accessible and imaginable to us through some aspect of our own complex self. (Shweder 1991) http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p= martin+luther+king+jr.+i+have+a+dream+spe ech&n=21&ei=utf-8&js=1&fr=yfp-t501&fr2=tabweb&tnr=20&vid=000167086979 Four famous papers Harry Triandis (1989) cultural dimensions of the self concept that can be observed cross culturally Jerome Bruner (1990) psychology can only be understood from the meaning we derive from our worlds Rick Shweder (1990) mind and culture are intertwined Markus and Kitayama (1991) psychological processes like emotions can be viewed cross culturally through self concept.