Chapter Review

Humans have a unique set of skills that enable us to more readily innovate, adopt, adapt and improve. Underlying these skills seems to be a cognitive infrastructure that promotes learning, teaching and perspective taking. These cognitive abilities seem to predispose humans to sociality, cooperation and collaboration with individuals who are outside of our kin network. A trait that makes us very unique among other animals and separates us from our nearest genetic cousins, the non-human primates


Acculturation is the process of social, psychological, and cultural change that happens when cultures blend.

Adaptation refers to a feature or a behavior that helps a living thing survive and function better in its environment and a genetic adaptation refers to changes physiological processes and genetics as a result of environmental or cultural variance.

Cooperation is the ability to work together toward common goals; animals cooperate with kin or other group members, but humans appear to be the only species that cooperates with strangers.

Cultural learning requires elements of social learning and encompasses other unique cognitive abilities like shared intentionality and perspective taking; collective learning of a culture that facilitate innovation, improvements and transmission across groups.

Cultural variance refers to different behaviors among groups as a result of different learning.

Cumulative learning refers to human collective brain power or a set of sophisticated skills that allows humans to create practices, behaviors, norms, artifacts (things) and institutions that are retained by group members and transmitted across generations and to other groups.

Diffusion is the spread of material and nonmaterial culture and relates to the integration between cultures and within cultures.

Emulative learning focuses on the environment, process and outcomes related to a specific event that is observed.

Environmental variance refers to differences among groups because the environment is different.

Imitative learning occurs through the process of modeling and demonstrating behavior with an understanding of the goal of the behavior.

Innovation is a new idea, method, behavior or tool

Ratchet effect suggests that cultural adaptations and innovations are accumulated (become part of a larger library of knowledge) and then expanded upon and refined across generations.

Social learning occurs when behaviors are acquired through observation or are taught by other members of a social group (e.g., caregivers, siblings) or social institutions (e.g., schools, places of worship).

Shared intentionality is a cognitive process by which we see others as intentional agents; encompasses interactions, commitment to a goal, and cooperation with others to achieve the goal.


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Culture and Psychology Copyright © 2020 by L D Worthy; T Lavigne; and F Romero is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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