Traditional and Nontraditional Culture

Essay by Manuels1999A, November 2009

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The psychological study of culture is fairly new; psychologists have started recognizing the importance of behaviors, beliefs, and values within traditional and nontraditional culture. An example of traditional and nontraditional culture is western versus eastern civilization.

History shows past psychology work dominated by Caucasian middle class males, along with their similar training was similar perspectives, portrayals and assumptions from their own culture onto others. New research is constantly surfacing regarding theoretical data on traditional and nontraditional culture, globalization and anti-globalization, collectivism, color-related idioms in different languages, social perception, and the list goes on (Shiraev & Levy, 2007).

ValuesCultural values help determine an individual's beliefs. A society's entire value system is passed from generation to generation using family history as a basis. Cultures are different depending upon demographics, economic, social factors, and academic achievements. The way an individual views his or her values is typically based upon the "theory of what his fellows know, believe, and mean," providing a certain code that the individual will follow (Xi, Kim-Pong, Morris, Sau-Lai, Ivy Yee-Man, and Chi-yue, 2009).

Values are not based entirely upon what an individual knows, thinks, or believes but what the society that he or she was born into knows, thinks, and believes. Depending on how much an individual aligns his or her perception of self to the perceived conception of society determines cultural behavior patterns (Xi, Kim-Pong, Morris, Sau-Lai, Ivy Yee-Man, and Chi-yue, 2009). An individual in a collectivist society may identify himself as Chinese, take the perceived conception of how they are viewed by society, and act accordingly. If the individual is perceived by society as smart, he or she could respond by wearing glasses, attending college or a secondary school, driving a nice car, or dressing affluently.

People view themselves either as individuals or collectively as a group.