How is it that cultures come into existence at all? How do cultures develop particular customs and characteristics rather than others? How do cultures persist and change over time? Most previous attempts to address these questions have been descriptive and historical. The purpose of this book is to provide answers that are explanatory, predictive, and relevant to the emergence and continuing evolution of cultures past, present, and future. Most other investigations into "cultural psychology" have focused on the impact that culture has on the psychology of the individual. The focus of this book is the reverse.

The authors show how questions about the origins and evolution of culture can be fruitfully answered through rigorous and creative examination of fundamental characteristics of human cognition, motivation, and social interaction. They review recent theory and research that, in many different ways, points to the influence of basic psychological processes on the collective structures that define cultures. These processes operate in all sorts of different populations, ranging from very small interacting groups to grand-scale masses of people occupying the same demographic or geographic category. The cultural effects--often unintended--of individuals' thoughts and actions are demonstrated in a wide variety of customs, ritualized practices, and shared mythologies: for example, religious beliefs, moral standards, rules for the allocation of resources, norms for the acceptable expression of aggression, gender stereotypes, and scientific values.

The Psychological Foundations of Culture reveals that the consequences of psychological processes resonate well beyond the disciplinary constraints of psychology. By taking a psychological approach to questions usually addressed by anthropologists, sociologists, and other social scientists, it suggests that psychological research into the foundations of culture is a useful--perhaps even necessary--complement to other forms of inquiry.

part |2 pages


chapter 1|10 pages

The Psychological Foundations of Culture: An Introduction

ByMark Schaller, Lucian Gideon Conway, Christian S. Crandall

part |2 pages


chapter 2|26 pages

Human Awareness of Mortality and the Evolution of Culture

BySheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, Jeff Schimel, Jamie Arndt, Tom Pyszczynski

chapter 3|36 pages

Cultural Elements Emerge From Dynamic Social Impact

ByHelen C. Harton, Martin J. Bourgeois

chapter 4|24 pages

Language, Cognition, and Reality: Constructing Shared Meanings Through Communication

ByIvy Y. –M. Lau, Sau-lai Lee, and Chi-yue Chiu

chapter 5|22 pages

Motivated Closed Mindedness and the Emergence of Culture

ByLinda Richter, Arie W. Kruglanski

part |2 pages


chapter 6|24 pages

Biological Foundations of Moral Norms

ByDennis Krebs, Maria Janicki

chapter 8|30 pages

Self-Organizing Culture: How Norms Emerge in Small Groups

ByHolly Arrow, K. L. Burns

chapter 9|24 pages

Scientists and Science: How Individual Goals Shape Collective Norms

ByChristian S. Crandall, Mark Schaller

part |2 pages


chapter 10|32 pages

The Microgenesis of Culture: Serial Reproduction as an Experimental Simulation of Cultural Dynamics

ByAllison McIntyre, Anthony Lyons, Anna Clark, Yoshihisa Kashima

chapter 11|22 pages

Sustaining Cultural Beliefs in the Face of Their Violation: The Case of Gender Stereotypes

ByDeborah A. Prentice, Erica Carranza

chapter 12|24 pages

When Believing Is Seeing: Sustaining Norms of Violence in Cultures of Honor

ByJoseph A. Vandello, Dov Cohen

part |2 pages


chapter 14|26 pages

Toward a Conception of Culture Suitable for a Social Psychology of Culture

ByGlenn Adams, Hazel Rose Markus