• Nurture: John Locke (1690) “An Essay Concerning
– Theory: A baby is a blank slate. Adult personalities are
exclusively the products of post-birth experiences, which
differ from culture to culture.
• Nature: Genetic Research
– Some genes/gene combinations are linked to human
nature – To what extent we are not yet sure.
– Genetics (Nature) are responsible for broad behavioral
potentials and limitations.
– Cultural values and expectations, and life experiences –
especially in the early years (Nurture), contribute more to
the intricacies of personality formation.
How: Early positive reinforcement of the self via Mom, family and
peers. Personal naming.
› Concepts of the Environment (Worldview)
How: Object orientation, spatial orientation, temporal orientation
and normative orientation.
How: Childhood experiences, dependence and/or
› Gender Concepts
How: Through ideas about Intersexuality, Transgender, and the
male/female gender split
› Culturally Acceptable Behaviors
How: Through behaviors deemed normal/abnormal, what is
Allows one to assume responsibility for one’s conduct, to learn how to react to others,
and to assume a variety of roles in society. Develops along with neuromotor skills…
Early mother/family cultural impressions
› Modern industrial societies vs. small-scale farming/foraging communities:
Modern industrial: Self-awareness develops slowly (~2yrs old) perhaps due to limited mother-
Ex: (United States) Infant sleeps isolated from mother, does not nurse as frequently, spends ~20% of time
directly next to mother. Positive correlation between longer breastfeeding and higher cognitive test scores,
lower risk of attention deficit disorder, fewer allergies, ear infections and diarrhea.
Small-scale farming/foraging communities
Ex: (Ju/’hoansi zhutwasi) Infant sleeps with the mother, is carried/held most (70%) of the time, and frequently
breast-feeds (~4 times an hour for 1-2 minutes).
› Naming acknowledges a child’s birthright and establishes its social identity. Without
a name, an individual has no identity, no self. For this reason, most cultures have
naming ceremonies: A special event or ritual to mark the naming of a child
Ex: Icelanders. A patrilineal society. A girl would take her father’s first name (i.e. “Olaf”) and
add “dotter” on the end, creating “Olafdotter” as her last name. A son would take his
father’s first name (i.e. “Sven”) and add “sen” on the end, creating “Svensen” as his last
› Cultures single out for attention certain environmental features, while ignoring others or
lumping them together into broad categories
Ex: What objects could be labeled “classroom” items? Of the category we term “animals”, which are
the most important to us? Why?
› When confronted with uncertainty, humans must clarify and give structure to the situation.
Cultures construct explanations of the universe, and every culture has a different view, a
different cultural lens.
› Names and significant features of places.
Ex: “Plymouth” is located at the “Mouth” of the river “Plym”
Ex: “Mediterranean” (Greek) means “Between” the “Lands” (of Egypt/Greece/Troy).
Ex: How to direct someone to the Cafeteria?
› Connecting past actions with those of the present and future provides a sense of self-
Ex: How old are you? How (by which units) do you measure this? At which age are you no longer a child?
When would you consider yourself ready for retirement?
› How to morally gauge your own actions or those of others. How to evaluate yourself
based on culturally transmitted ideals, moral values and principles.
Ex: Why would taking and then permanently keeping your neighbor’s backpack/purse without asking, be considered wrong?
Personalities are products of enculturation, as experienced by individuals, each with
his or her distinctive genetic makeup
Culture + Genetic makeup = Personality
› Culture is like a mask. Gradually the “mask” of culture as it is “placed” on the face of the
child, begins to shape that person until there is little sense of the mask as a superimposed
alien force. Instead it feels natural, as if one were born with it. The individual has
successfully internalized the culture.
Dependence vs. Independence training
› Dependence Training: Child-rearing practices that foster compliance in the performance
of assigned tasks and dependence on the domestic group, rather than reliance on
Ex: Docility, individual is subordinate to the group, community wishes and ideas have more weight than an
individual’s. Selfish/aggressive behavior actively discouraged. Family members all actively work to help and
support one another. Characteristic of societies with an economy based on subsistence farming, or in foraging
societies in which many family groups live together.
› Independence Training: Child-rearing practices that foster independence, self-reliance,
and personal achievement.
Characteristics of societies in which a basic unit of parent(s) and offspring fends for itself. Typically found in
trading and industrial societies. Babies are more separated from the mother. Children typically not given
tasks/chores until later childhood. These tasks are usually carried out for personal benefit (i.e. for an allowance)
rather than contributions to the family’s welfare. Competition and winning are emphasized in school and life.
Displays of individual will, assertiveness, an even aggression encouraged.
› Which category does predominant U.S. society fall under?
Biology: Sex is determined according to whether a person’s 23 rd chromosomal set
is XX (female) or XY (male). People born without one or the other, or with a
mutation on the X or Y chromosome do not fit neatly into the male/female gender
› Intersexual: A person born with reproductive organs, genitalia, and/or sex chromosomes
that are not exclusively male or female.
1% of all humans (60 million people)
› Transgender: A person who crosses over or occupies a culturally accepted position in the
binary male-female gender construction.
Winkte: Among the Lakota, a third recognized gender, accorded considerable prestige in their communities.
Acceptance/Importance of people who are intersexed varies culturally
› Greece/Ottoman Empire (~1500 years ago)
Eunuchs: Castrated male individuals. The term means “guardian of the bed” in Greek. Ottoman Empire: Were in
charge of harems, but also occupied valued position such as priests, administrators and army commanders.
Hijra (also called Eunuchs): http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/places/culture-
› People who are Intersexual/Transgender widely accepted in Western Society?
Issues over Gay Marriage: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/places/culture-places/beliefs-
Changing sex: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/places/culture-
What is considered normal and acceptable in one society may be abnormal and
unacceptable (ridiculous, shameful, and sometimes criminal) in another).
Some cultures tolerate or accept a much wider range of diversity than others and
may even accord special status to the deviant or eccentric as unique,
extraordinary, even sacred.
› Ex: (ancient Egypt) Dwarfs and the Blind.
If one had Achondroplasia: Associated with the protective God Bes (below far right) and were revered for their
jewelry-making skills (above)
If an individual was blind, playing the harp was destiny
› Ex: (North America) the Manic and Hyperactivity
More and more viewed as assets in the quest for success.
“Finely wired, exquisitely alert nervous systems”, able to make one highly
Sensitive to signs of change, able to fly from one thing to another while pushing
the limits of everything and doing it all with an intense level of energy focused
totally on the future.
Ethnic Pyschoses: A mental disorder specific to a particular ethnic group
› Windigo among northern Algonquian Indian groups: Individuals afflicted by the psychosis developed the
delusion that, falling under the control of these monsters they were themselves transformed into Windigos,
with a craving for human flesh. Although there are no known instances where sufferers of Windigo
psychosis actually ate another human being they were acutely afraid of doing so, and people around
them were genuinely fearful that they might.
› Paranoid Schizophrenia among Euramerican cultures: Characterized by feelings of persecution from
others, a withdrawal of the individual from society, a fear and mistrust of nearly everyone.
› Both draw upon whatever imagery and symbolism their culture has to offer. Northern Algonquian culture,
this includes myths featuring cannibal giants. Irish Schizophrenia draws on Saints/Virgin Mary imagery. In
secular Euramerica, this includes more non-religious persecution ideas.
› Check out Table 6.1 on pg. 147 of your book.