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PSYCH403: Cultural Psychology

Unit 2: Cognition   This unit focuses on how culture influences cognition (our thought processes).  While many of the processes of cognition are thought to be the same for all humans, there is some evidence that our experience with the environment can shape some of the ways we use cognition.  Each culture creates a certain set of expectations that we use to interpret and understand the stimuli with which we constantly deal.  Think, for example, about television.  We understand that the people on television are somewhere else and are broadcasted to our TV because we live in a culture in which most individuals use TV in their daily lives.  However, if your culture had never seen or used a TV before, you might not know what to think when seeing someone on a television.  While this example is somewhat simplistic, it relays one of the major messages of this unit: Our cognitive processes are, in fact, dependent on our cultural environment.  This unit also investigates the ways in which cognitive processes (like the perception of time and consciousness) can be affected by culture.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 7 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 2 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify factors that influence our perception as human beings and the salient differences amongst cultures.
  • Compare and contrast time appraisal systems and how they present themselves in different cultures.
  • Explain the various states of consciousness, covering both voluntary and involuntary states.

2.1 Sensation and Perception   - Lecture: iTunesU: David Bailey’s “Sensation and Perception: Part #1” and “Sensation and Perception: Part #2” Links iTunesU: David Bailey’s “Sensation and Perception: Part #1” (iTunesU Audio) and  “Sensation and Perception: Part #2” (iTunesU Audio)
 
Instructions: Please click the provided link.  The website that opens will have a list of lectures from the Harrisburg Area Community College.  Be sure to locate the item with the title as listed above, “Sensation and Perception Part 1,” item number 12, and “Sensation and Perception Part 2,” item number 13.  Place your mouse over the title and a “play” button will appear.  Please click this to start each lecture.  Please listen to Part 1 to learn about the concept of sensation and Part 2 to learn about the notion of perception.
 
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2.1.1 The Perceptual Set   - Reading: Simply Psychology: Saul Mcleod’s “Perceptual Set” Link: Simply Psychology: Saul Mcleod’s  “Perceptual Set” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the overview of what defines a perceptual set and how this limited focus can come from or impact our cultural understanding.
 
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2.1.2 Factors Influencing Perception: Physical, Environmental, Genetic, Socialization, and Acculturation   - Reading: National Institute of Open Schooling: “Biological and Cultural Shaping of Mind and Behaviour” Link: National Institute of Open Schooling: “Biological and Cultural Shaping of Mind and Behaviour” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please type the full name of the document, “Biological and Cultural Shaping of Mind and Behavior,” into the search engine that is located on the top right-hand side of the website. The search will return the document as the first option. Please click the title, and utilize the document as a window into both the internal and external factors that influence how we see and interact with the world.
 
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2.1.3 Illusion Susceptibility   - Reading: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Social Perception: Marshall H. Segall, Donald T. Campbell, and Melville J. Herskovit’s “The Influence of Culture on Visual Perception” Link: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Social Perception: Marshall H. Segall, Donald T. Campbell, and Melville J. Herskovit’s “The Influence of Culture on Visual Perception” (PDF)
 
Instructions: When clicking the provided link, a list of articles will appear. Please click the link entitled, “socialperception14.pdf” and the article will open.  Please read this brief article, which discusses illusion susceptibility and the impact that culture plays in the notion of how we perceive things with our sense of sight. 
 
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2.1.4 The Learned Tendency Hypothesis   2.1.5 The Use of Color Terms Across Cultures   - Reading: American Psychological Association: Rachel Adelson’s “Hues and Views” Link: American Psychological Association: Rachel Adelson’s “Hues and Views” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This article reveals the impact of language on the use of color terminology across cultures.  Please read it in its entirety and reflect on your own use of color terms in your own life, including your tendency to become more specific in the denotation of shades or generalize in color genres.
 
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2.2 Time Appraisal   2.2.1 Monochronic Time   - Reading: Iowa State University: Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching: “Cultural Differences” Link: Iowa State University: Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching: “Cultural Differences” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the document regarding differences in time orientation, communication stylistics, and societal expectations and values amongst cultures.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for subunits 2.2.2–2.2.5 and 2.2.7–2.2.8.
 
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2.2.2 Linear and Clock Driven Systems   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.1 Focus specifically on the consideration of monochronic or polychronic cultures and if either appears to utilize and follow a linear time system. 

2.2.3 A Closed System of Time   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.1 Focus specifically on if time is seen as fluid or closed in monochronic and polychronic systems. 

2.2.4 Individualistic Cultures: Appointment and Schedule Oriented   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.1 Focus specifically on if time if followed in a regimented way or if it is more dynamic in both monochronic and polychronic cultures.  

2.2.5 Polychronic Time   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.1 Focus specifically on the differences between monochronic and polychronic cultural communities.  

2.2.6 Cyclical and Nature Driven System   - Web Media: YouTube: Cross Culture Communication: David Solomons’ “Cross Cultural Communication on the Culture of Time” Link: YouTube: Cross Culture Communication: David Solomons’ “Cross Cultural Communication on the Culture of Time” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please click the above link to access the video.  This video discusses how time is viewed in various cultures, as well as some of the perceptions and implications of these differences. Please watch the video in its entirety. Note that this web media covers the material you need to know subunits 2.2.7–2.2.8.
 
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2.2.7 Collectivist Cultures: People Oriented   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.1 and the web media in subunit 2.2.6.  Both of these resources cover information regarding collectivist and individualist cultures, including the differences between them, particularly as they relate to time and social interactions. 

2.2.8 Interactions Between Monochronic and Polychronic Time Systems   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.2.1 and the web media in subunit 2.2.6.  Both of these resources provide information regarding the monochronic and polychronic time systems, including their primary traits and the core differences amongst them. 

2.3 States of Consciousness: Dreams   2.3.1 Cultural Perspectives of Dreams   - Reading: International Institute for Dream Research: Waud H. Kracke’s “Cultural Aspects of Dreaming” Link: International Institute for Dream Research: Waud H. Kracke’s “Cultural Aspects of Dreaming” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please navigate to the provided web resource.  Select “cultural.pdf” in order to retrieve the document.  This document will review cultural differences in dreams, cultural beliefs regarding dreams, and social embeddedness.
 
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2.3.2 Material Societies: Monophasic   - Reading: Sleep For All’s “Sleep Patterns: Polyphasic, Biphasic, and Monophasic” Link: Sleep For All’s “Sleep Patterns: Polyphasic, Biphasic, and Monophasic” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the section on “Types of Sleep Patterns” for information on polyphasic, biphasic, and monophasic sleep and awake patterns.
 
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2.3.3 Activation Synthesis Theory   - Reading: About.com: Kendra Cherry’s “What Is the Activation-Synthesis Model of Dreaming?” Link: About.com: Kendra Cherry’s  “What Is the Activation-Synthesis Model of Dreaming?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please review McCarley’s and Hobson’s theory as it relates to the physiological aspects of dreams.  Based on this theory of physiological responsiveness to dreams, consider the meaning that this might have for persons who come from different cultures with different psychological definitions attached to the experience of dreaming.
 
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2.3.4 Spiritual Societies: Polyphasic   - Web Media: YouTube: Dr. Claudio Stampi’s “Polyphasic Sleep Study” Link: YouTube: Dr. Claudio Stampi’s “Polyphasic Sleep Study” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please watch this video regarding the changing of circadian rhythms in efforts to follow a polyphasic sleep pattern and learn of the rationales for doing so for some individuals and societies.
 
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2.3.5 Different Meanings for Dreams Across Cultures: Christian, Native American, Chilean, Australian Aborigines, African Tribes   - Reading: University of California, Santa Cruz: G. William Domhoff’s “Cross-Cultural Studies of Dream Content” Link: University of California, Santa Cruz: G. William Domhoff’s “Cross-Cultural Studies of Dream Content” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this document in its entirety as it presents a very detailed case review of how dream content may differ from one culture to another.  This author looks at several countries, including Canada, Switzerland, India, the Netherlands, and Japan.
 
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2.4 States of Consciousness: Trance and Meditation   2.4.1 What is a Trance?   - Reading: Psychology 4 All: V. George Mathew’s “Psychology of Consciousness” Link: Psychology 4 All: V. George Mathew’s “Psychology of Consciousness” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please review the document, including all information regarding trance states, meditation, and other various manifestations of cultural rituals.  Note that this reading covers the material you need to know for subunits 2.4.2–2.4.3.
 
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2.4.2 Visionary vs. Possession   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.4.1.  Please focus on the contrast among religion, mysticism, and occultism. 

2.4.3 Inducing Trances: Music, Dance, Song, Drugs and Suggestion   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.4.1. Pay particular attention to the section entitled “Methods of Altering Consciousness.”

2.4.4 Meditation   - Reading: House, Church, Network Association’s “What’s the Difference between Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplation?” Link: House, Church, Network Association’s “What’s the Difference between Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplation?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this document in its entirety, paying particular attention to its discussion on the practice of meditation. Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for subunit 2.4.5.
 
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2.4.5 Meditation vs. Prayer   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 2.4.4. Please review the differences between meditation and prayer as they are presented in this document in a compare and contrast format. 

2.4.6 Poloma Study: Number of Americans that Believe in Prayer   - Reading: Sociology of Religion: Neal Krause and Linda M. Chatters’ “Exploring Race Differences in a Multidimensional Battery of Prayer Measures among Older Adults” Link: Sociology of Religion: Neal Krause and Linda M. Chatters’ “Exploring Race Differences in a Multidimensional Battery of Prayer Measures among Older Adults” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In order to access this article, scroll down under the table of contents and locate the article as indicated above.  Click “full text PDF” to open the document. Please review the article in its entirety.  Please review this research study’s elements and pay particular attention to the results section.
 
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