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Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Social Psychology by David G. Myers 9 th Edition Genes, Culture, and Gender.

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Presentation on theme: "Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Social Psychology by David G. Myers 9 th Edition Genes, Culture, and Gender."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Social Psychology by David G. Myers 9 th Edition Genes, Culture, and Gender

2 Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Human Nature and Cultural Diversity Two Perspectives currently dominate the area of human similarities and differences: –Evolutionary perspective emphasizes human kinship –Cultural perspective emphasizes human diversity

3 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Human Nature & Cultural Diversity The universal behaviors that define human nature arise from our biological similarity –You may say “My ancestors came from Ireland” or “My roots are in China”, but anthropologists will say we all came from Africa –In response to climate change and availability of food hominids migrated. As they adapted to new environments differences emerged.

4 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Genes, Evolution, and Behavior Natural selection –Heritable traits that best enable organisms to survive and reproduce in particular environments are passed on –Implies that genes which increase our chances of survival become more abundant Example: In the Artic, genes coding for white fur have won the genetic competition –Biologically speaking, our purpose is to leave grandchildren

5 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Genes, Evolution & Behavior Evolutionary psychology –Uses principles of natural selection to study evolution of cognition and behavior –Studies how natural selection predisposes not just physical traits, but also psychological and social behaviors that enhance the spreading of our genes –Evolutionary psychologists believe that we are the way we are because evolution has selected out certain traits Believe we carry our ancestor’s adaptive processes and we long for whatever made them survive and reproduce Barash (2003): the brain’s purpose is to direct our organs and our behavior in a way that maximizes evolutionary success. Gene expression depends on the environment –Highlight universal characteristics that evolve through natural selection

6 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture and Behavior Evolution has prepared us to learn and adapt Culture: the enduring behaviors, ideas, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next. –Different cultures value different things (example: promptness, premarital sex, etc) Humans as cultural animals –Evolution made us for culture

7 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture & Behavior Cultural diversity –Much of our behavior is socially programmed not hardwired (example: languages, customs, and expressive behavior) –Cultural diversity may exist within nations. For example, the US. –Working with other cultures may be an interesting experience For example, men in the US may find it strange when Middle Eastern heads of state great the US president with a kiss on the cheek. Manners may change from culture to culture. What you may think is proper may not be in another culture 1 in 6 Canadians and 1 in 12 Americans is an immigrant

8 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture & Behavior Norms: Standards for expected and accepted behavior –Imprison people to perpetuate tradition –A Latin business person may be mystified by how obsessed their North American counterparts are with punctuality. –North Americans may be surprised by Japanese lack of eye contact –Personal space: Most North Americans keep about 4 feet of personal space, letting friends come closer to about 2 or 3 feet What cultures do you think may have less personal space?

9 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture Matters

10 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Gestures

11 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Gestures

12 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Gestures

13 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture & Behavior Cultural similarity –Universal friendship norms: People everywhere have some common norms for friendship Not divulging things said in confidence Respecting friend’s privacy –Universal trait dimensions: Around the world, people tend to describe others as more or less stable, open, agreeable, and conscientious. This Big Five personality traits are seen worldwide. However, which ones are valued may vary.

14 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture & Behavior –Universal social belief dimensions: There are five main social beliefs. However, which ones are endorsed depend on culture.

15 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Universal Social Belief Dimensions

16 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture & Behavior –Universal status norms: Whenever people form status hierarchies, they also talk to higher status people in the respectful way they speak to strangers and they talk to lower status people in the familiar way they speak to friends. Example1: Patients call physicians “Dr.” and physicians call patients by their first names. Example 2: Most languages have two versions of the pronoun “you” (a more formal version and a less formal version). In Spanish it would be “tu” and “usted”

17 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture & Behavior –Incest taboo This is the best known universal norm. Parents are not allowed to have sex with their children, nor siblings with one another. This taboo is violated more than psychologists thought, but it is still disapproved of by every culture. When it comes to evolution this makes sense

18 Genes, Culture, and Gender Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Culture & Behavior –Norms of war: Humans have cross-cultural norms for war. When killing one’s enemy there are agreed upon rules (you are to wear identifiable uniforms, surrender with a gesture of submission, and treat prisoners humanely). Although these norms are cross-cultural they are not universal (Iraqi forces pretended to surrender and then attacked and dressed soldiers like civilians to set up ambushes)


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