Cultural Origins of Behavior and Cognition

Customs are a part of “surface” culture whereas beliefs, attitudes and values represent “deep” culture

Learning Outcomes:

  • Culture and its influence on behaviour and cognition: Study one example of culture and its influence on behaviour and cognition
    • Cultural Groups are characterized by different norms and conventions — understand cultural groups and their norms
    • Norms
  • Cultural dimensions: Study one cultural dimension
  • Enculturation: Study one effect enculturation has on human cognition and behaviour
  • Acculturation: Study one effect acculturation has on human cognition and behaviour
    • Assimilation/assimilate

Surface Culture vs. Deep Culture

It is important to understand the difference between surface culture and “deep” culture. Surface culture is easy to understand in that it is a somewhat self-defining term. Surface culture refers to the tangible norms of behaviour that you can see. For example fashion, food, personal space etiquette, table manners, etc.

Deep culture on the other hand, are the beliefs and values that give rise to the surface culture. A common metaphor is that of an iceberg:

Deep culture creates surface culture

Learning Activities

The activity linked HERE will require that you understand the above concepts of surface/deep culture as well as require you to investigate and understand the concept of “cultural dimensions”

Cultural Dimensions

Cultural dimensions have been deeply researched by Geert Hofstede and are a key understanding in cultural psychology. Hofstede has in essence quantified elements of “deep culture” for the purpose of understanding differences and similarities so to better facilitate human interaction.

The Cultural Dimensions identified by Hofstede are: