Psychology and Culture

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Psychology and Culture
Part 1
Cultures and Their Influences 8/22/12
* Culture is a set of attitudes, behaviors, symbols, shared by a large group of people and is communicated by successive generations * Psychology is the study of the mental process and human behavior * Cultural Psychology is the link between culture and psychology. Mental processes are the product of interaction between a culture and an individual. * Cross Cultural Psychology is the critical and comparative study of cultural effects of human psychology. Identifies similar and different people behaviors, emotions, motivations, and thoughts across cultures. * Society is a group of people.

* Culture is a shared way of interaction that people practice. * Race is a group of people distinguished by certain similar and genetically transmitted characteristics * Controversy – is race a social category?

* Most physical traits appear in all populations
* Biologists – race is a term used to describe a population that differs in distinguishable physical traits * In the past - geographical isolation was a race creating factor * Now – differences more political, cultural, religious * Ethnicity – cultural heritage. Experience shares by people who have a common ancestral origin, language, traditions, often religion, geographic territory * Nation – people who share common geographic origin, history, language, and unified as a political entity – independent state recognized by other countries * Countries use terms race, ethnicity, and nationality differently. Ex: what we term race in U.S. is termed nationality in other countries * Different ethnic groups within nations

* Different national groups within ethnic groups
* Ethnocentrism – supports judgment about other ethnic, national/cultural groups and events from observer’s own ethnic or cultural perspective * View other groups as “less than” us
* Narrows perception of other countries and social groups * Distortions of reality
VS.
* Cultural Relativism – understanding cultures within context of those cultures * Four types of knowledge in cross-cultural psychology * Scientific – result of scientific research of wide range of psychology phenomena * Popular (folk) – everyday assumptions – commonly held beliefs/opinions about psych phenomena * Ideological – value based. Stable set of beliefs about the world, good and evil, right and wrong, purpose of life, and the existence of the soul. * Legal – law, official rules and principles related to psychological functioning – establishes boundaries of acceptable human behavior

* Two Types of Cultural influences 8/27/12
* Traditional
* Rooted in traditions, rules, symbols
* Conservative, intolerant to innovation
* Social roles prescribed
* Custom and routine
* Truth not debatable
* Clear distinction between good and evil
* Nontraditional
* Aka modern
* Based on new principles, ideas
* Social roles achieved
* Emphasis on individual choice
* Truth - competition of ideas
* Distinction between good and evil is relative
* Cultural Dichotomies
* Power distance: extent to which people accept that power in institutions and organizations distributed unequally * High power: accepts inequality
* Ex: caste-based system (India)
* Low power: equality a preferred value in relationships * Ex: United States
* Masculinity vs. Femininity
* Masculine: responsibility, work goals, decisiveness, high ambition * Ex: Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, and U.S.
* Feminine: caring for others, consensus-building, caring for the weak, gentles * Ex: Netherlands, France, Portugal, Costa Rica,...
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