Culture is more than just what you think it is, even if you were raised in a culture where most people are polite and use proper grammar. What is culture? Culture is the umbrella term that encompasses all the beliefs, attitudes, arts, behaviors, customs, laws, talents, and skills of the people in those cultures, as well as their knowledge, values, practices, and institutions. All of this together can create an incredibly wide diversity, which can be seen in today’s world at every level of society.
In this chapter, we will explore how different forms of culture can be seen in the social relationships we have with others. Most cultures share many core aspects of their social worlds, but in different ways, and in varying degrees of depth and variety. For instance, some cultures are highly materialistic, while others are spiritual or religious. Some cultures value work more highly than others, while some are extremely nurturing and accepting of a more individualistic form of culture. In each of these cases, we will look at how the presence of these differing cultural types can shape our interpretation of the world around us, both in personal interactions and in larger contexts.
Finally, I will suggest a way to bridge the culture gap through the study of culture in cognitive science. This discipline has, for many decades, been fascinated by the phenomenon of human psychology, especially the phenomenon of cultural transmission, which refers to the process by which cultural values and beliefs influence the way we think and behave. The current research on the nature of culture can provide important insights into the process of cultural transmission, which provides significant evidence for many of the accounts presented here, especially for models of human cultural psychology. The research on culture in cognitive science provides a rich source of information about the human mind and the process of cultural evolution.