chapter  2
17 Pages

Culture and itsinfluence

Exploring a key concept in global psychology
WithAndrew Stevenson

Along with mind, normality and consciousness, culture is one of the most disputed words in your psychology glossary. The truth is that culture has no single agreed definition. In a literature review, Soudijn et al. found 128 different definitions of culture. Successive definitions down the years have grown more sophisticated – and longer. This chapter explores how culture, like biological inheritance, has a deep influence on the way we behave. The similarities between these ‘dual influences’ are also examined in detail. The chapter discusses an ‘eco-cultural’ theory of cultural and biological inheritance, setting the influence of culture in an evolutionary context. It culminates with an examination of how useful culture is as an explanation for differences in behaviour between individuals and groups, especially when we consider that some of us are more susceptible to the norms and influences of our culture than others.