Culture includes socially constructed customs, attitudes, ideas, values, beliefs, and social behavior of a specific group taught from one generation to another (Payne, 2020). Essentially, culture is the way of life in different societies, a living method guided by established and shared morals, social ethics, and principles. Culture plays a major role in one’s self-identity; it shapes human nature, and individuals learn to express nature in various ways. However, cultures differ across various communities, meaning that the values, beliefs, and principles, among other elements of a culture, will also vary across distinct communities (Payne, 2020). Therefore, due to social influence, one’s perspective and behavior towards an individual from a different culture are heavily influenced by their culture.
According to the Müller–Lyer Figure, people from different cultures have different views (Nanay, 2009). For example, as an African American in America, my culture is individualistic; my community stresses a person’s needs over the needs of the many, and behavior is dictated by the individual’s preferences and attitudes. Conversely, collective cultures like Korean or Islamic communities emphasize solidarity over personal goals (Payne, 2020). Being in such a culture has made me form assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudices about people from contrasting cultures.
For example, I think people from collective cultures tend to be co-dependent on other people for their livelihood. Since I was young, the concept of independence has been one of my main goals; therefore, I can’t entirely agree with the idea of people depending on others. Another assumption is that collective cultures are very judgmental, especially of the American culture. My culture’s rules are nonexistent, especially in religion, music, fashion, and mainstream media. Such thoughts influence my behavior around people of different cultures for fear of judgment.
In conclusion, from Müller–’s figure, it is evident that individuals often think they make logical and well-informed decisions. Still, it is more of the cultural experiences people have been exposed to that influence their decisions. Even if people are not aware of it, culture significantly influences how one views the world, what judgments one makes, their attitudes toward other people, how one treats them, how one approaches challenges, and how one resolves them.
Nanay, B. (2009). Shape constancy, not size constancy: a (partial) explanation for the Müller-Lyer illusion. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (Vol. 31, No. 31).
Payne, W. (2020). Culture as a Social Construct. Human Behavior and the Social Environment II.
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How does culture influence your thinking and behavior toward others?
Explain how your culture impacts the image or understanding you have about others, including assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudices.
Please note: reading is chapters 2 and 3 of the textbook. Thank you
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