12 November 2021

How does culture influence our behaviour?

 How does culture influence our behaviour?

Topic by Norma

Essay by Lawrence


By definition, culture is human public behaviour that has evolved in a society over time. Culture, is basically doing things together with those we identify as relatives or members of the same tribe. We know the rules, we know the choreography and most important of all, we know our place in this game of culture.


Conformity is the mechanism by which people in a society cooperate and behave. Cultural behaviour, like language, helps us predict the behaviour of other people. Queuing for a service is a very basic example when an orderly queue would prevent possible confrontation.


But this conformity bias does not mean that members of a society live in peace and in universal cooperation. Within a society there is still conflicts and disagreements, but in a well balanced society this is usually channelled into opposition on a football pitch, a religious festivity, or even political parties. As long as disagreements are played out within the boundaries of a culture people have been happy to reach out for the status quo.


Indeed, political culture feeds on social culture; culture is easily appropriated by political factions and the leaders of the state can elevate cultural events into some sort of a nationalistic religious icon. Thus in many cases, such as sport or gastronomy, it is difficult to distinguish between political behaviour and cultural behaviour.


There is also a tension between generations: the older generation laments the neglect of their culture by the younger generation. Hard spirits have replaced wine among the young in some cultures and open air concerts have replaced bull fighting. This is not so much culture influencing our behaviour, but rather our behaviour abandoning culture, and maybe replace the old culture with something more alien.


Another challenge is that external cultures influence our culture and unwittingly we conform to the new system. People today are as likely to queue for a take away bag of fast food rather than a menu del dia. And the more international the world becomes, the more likely we’re going to get a mix of cultures and behaviours. International tourism dictates adopting certain cultural habits which would have been impossible a few years ago: today the city of Segovia has become an international tourist attraction offering excellent services and lunch anytime after midday to international tourists.


To sum up, culture determines our behaviour, and our behaviour changes our culture. The hard part is determining what is valuable in our culture and then how to protect it.


Best Lawrence





Also check out Sisa's essay:



How culture influences our life




Culture has been defined as the aspects of human activity which are socially rather than genetically transmitted. These aspects include ethics, behaviour, language, clothes, values which are learned by a particular group of people. Therefore, culture makes societies unique, making it an essential component in influencing our lives.


Some values can change after time, but the principles remain the same. Being born in a specific group of people make you choose one decision over the other because of the values. For instance, within Indigenous culture taking care of nature means a lot. Every year make offerings to the "Pachamama"(Mother Earth)  shows gratitude towards our nature. For this reason, in the indigenous mind, the decision of destroying the forest by building thousands of houses inside the mountains does not make sense. Contrary to the European mind whose decisions are focused on themselves. The benefit for humans instead of looking for the mutual benefit nature and humans.


Often people from one culture are surprised by the decisions taken by other people of a culture.  We usually think that one culture is more superior than another, this is just ignorance.


Culture defines our identity it is essential to be able to recognize and respect other cultures to avoid this thinking of superiority.


Finally learning more about how culture influences our way of living,  deciding, thinking will help us to distinguish between aspects of the way people think which are part of nature from those that are the results of the time we were exposed before reaching our adulthood.


© 2021 Sisa





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