Social Psychology


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                 •  Social Psychology Index

 Human Nature
& Cultural Diversity

Evolution & Behavior

    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  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  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).

Social Psychology
  Robert C. Gates