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    •  How are we influenced by human nature & cultural diversity?
     •  How are gender similarities and differences explained?
      •  Evolution and gender: Doing what comes naturally?
       •  Culture and gender: Doing as the culture says?
        •  What can we conclude about genes, culture, and gender?
         •  Social Psychology Index

Ψ  Genes, Culture, & Gender


     Ψ  How are we influenced by human nature & cultural diversity?

    Ψ  Natural selection is the process by which favorable traits that are heritable become more common in successive generations of a population, & unfavorable traits that are heritable become less common. Natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. The term was introduced by Charles Darwin in his groundbreaking 1859 book The Origin of Species.

    Ψ  Evolutionary Psychology studies how natural selection predisposes not  just physical traits but psychological traits & social behaviors that enhance the preservation & spread of one's genes.

    Ψ  The evolutionary perspective highlights our universal human nature. Evolutionary psychologists highlight the universal characteristics that have evolved through natural selection.

Culture & Behavior

    Ψ  Our most important similarity, the hallmark of our species: the ability to learn & adapt.

    Ψ  We are on a loose genetic leash, about half of what we do is learned (adapted). "Ironically, therefore, our shared human biology enables our cultural diversity." (David G. Myers)

Cultural Diversity

    Ψ  Cultural norms are behavior patterns that are typical of specific groups. All cultures have accepted ideal about appropriate behavior. Some norms are healthy & some are not.

    Ψ  Norm: Personal space is the region surrounding each person, or that area which a person considers his domain or territory. What distance is appropriate for a particular social situation depends on cultural norms.

Cultural Similarity

    Ψ  Some norms are universal. Best Known is the taboo against incest.

    Ψ  Forms of address communicate not only social distance but also social status (status hierarchies).

The majority of the following information is a temporary lift from http://www.suecloninger.com/Course%20notes/coursenotes_social_ch05.html

Click here to go to the source Web Page.

 Norms: Expected Behavior
 
 rules for accepted and expected behavior; prescribe "proper" behavior
 
 ex: "When in Rome, do as the Romans."
 According to Myers, "Norms grease the social machinery."
 personal space (norm with cultural variation); greater for adults, men, Northern Europeans, North Americans
 
 Cultural Similarity
 
 norms for war (surrender; humane treatment of prisoners)
 universal incest taboo
 norms for friendship (privacy; eye contact; keeping secrets
 "Big 5" universal dimensions of personality: stable, outgoing, open, agreeable, conscientious

    Ψ  There are 5 universal social beliefs: cynicism, social complexity, reward for application, Religiosity (Previously named as Spirituality), & fate control that people in different societies adhere to in varying degrees.

Norms of address are based on status
 
 Social Roles
 
 acculturation and repatriation
 
 role changes (e.g., Patricia Hearst)
 
 High- and Low-Status Roles
 
 experimental studies show that high status has advantages
 discuss: Why is a true experiment important for determining cause-effect relationships in this case?
 
 Role Reversal
 
 can improve communication

     Ψ  How are gender similarities & differences explained?

 gender
 
 the characteristics people associate with male and female
 nurturance (feminine gender role)
 dominance (masculine gender role)
 [art images presented in lecture]
 Some people think it is a mistake to focus on differences.
 
 Independence versus Connectedness
 
 empathy ("being able to feel what another feels")
 smiling
 women superior at decoding others' emotional messages and at expressing their own emotions nonverbally
 
 Social Dominance
 Men are more dominant and verbally directive.
 Should women try to act more like men? (Nancy Henley)
 
 Aggression
 
 "behavior intended to hurt"
 greater among men
 
 Sexuality
 
 Men are more accepting of casual sex & more likely to initiate sex.

     Ψ  Evolution & gender: Doing what comes naturally?

 Gender and Mating Preferences
 
 relative cost of sperm vs. eggs (parental investment)
 jealousy (men are more jealous about sex, women about emotional attachment)
 preference for younger partner (men)
 
 Gender and Hormones
 
 testosterone influences aggression
 ...but is androgyny in old age hormonal, or cultural?
 
 Reflections on Evolutionary Psychology
 Does the theory predict, or only explain?
 Does what was adaptive in the past, still have adaptive value?
 Does the theory ignore the role of culture?
 How biased our our assumptions, anyway? If you had to give an evolutionary reason to explain why women are stronger than men, could you?

     Ψ  Culture & gender: Doing as the culture says?

 gender roles: "behavioral expectations for males & females"
 We sometimes behave differently to live up to these expectations, as in Zanna & Pack's study of women describing themselves to a man with traditionally feminine or less restrictive gender roles.
 
 Gender Roles Vary With Culture
 
 more similarity in nomadic, food-gathering societies
 more differences in agricultural societies
 
 Gender Roles Vary Over Time
 
 attitudes toward women working outside family, and number of women who do so
 
 Peer-transmitted Culture
 
 Judith Harris: The Nurture Assumption
 evidence of differences among children in the same household
 peer influence

     Ψ  What can we conclude about genes, culture, and gender?

 Biology and Culture
 
 coevolution of biology and culture
 interaction of biology and culture
 
 The Power of the Situation and the Person
 
 Social situations interact with individuals to influence behavior:
  A given situation affects different people differently.
  People choose their situations.
  People create their situations.


Social Psychology
  Robert C. Gates

New  "As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot be productive without cultivation, so the mind without culture can never produce good fruit.

- Seneca quotes (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)