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Old March 16th, 2011, 11:25 AM   #1

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Impact of Culture on Human Behavior


What can we learn about ourselves by studying other cultures? To what degree does culture impact our beliefs, worldviews, morals, mores, and even perceptions?

How much of our behavior is innate to our species and how much is learned behavior?

Let's start by something that we may think is fairly fundimental. Sexual attraction and beauty.

The following pictures are different ideals of beauty found in various cultures from various periods in time. If something so "simple" as beauty is widely divergant, what does this say for the rest of our ideals?


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Old March 16th, 2011, 12:05 PM   #2

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All these photos are passport to enter particular societies. You join the society to socialize.

For example in the first photo, the more you have ring on your neck they more you have chance to satisfie your need of socializing.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Efendi View Post
All these photos are passport to enter particular societies. You join the society to socialize.

For example in the first photo, the more you have ring on your neck they more you have chance to satisfie your need of socializing.
I think that's exactly right Efendi. As social beings we have a desire to belong and be part of the group.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 12:35 PM   #4

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Mine would be a rather banal centrist perspective I guess, but I would say there is always an interplay between environment factors, genetic predispositions, and culture; the latter more at the whim of the previous two as culture is the product of the very people who are so influenced by their environment and genetics in the first place.
The ubiquity of culture and its bastards mutant offspring in the modern era - lifestyle - is now a system of immense complexity. Wouldn't like to argue that culture in previous eras was unsophisticated, but we do seem to be in a state of cultural overload today in many ways.

Of course, it depends how far one would want to take the notion that social conventions can be arbitrary according to each society, the thorny notion of moral relativism will rear its hoary and divisive head...
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Old March 16th, 2011, 12:45 PM   #5

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Mine would be a rather banal centrist perspective I guess, but I would say there is always an interplay between environment factors, genetic predispositions, and culture; the latter more at the whim of the previous two as culture is the product of the very people who are so influenced by their environment and genetics in the first place.
The ubiquity of culture and its bastards mutant offspring in the modern era - lifestyle - is now a system of immense complexity. Wouldn't like to argue that culture in previous eras was unsophisticated, but we do seem to be in a state of cultural overload today in many ways.

Of course, it depends how far one would want to take the notion that social conventions can be arbitrary according to each society, the thorny notion of moral relativism will rear its hoary and divisive head...
I'm inclined to agree. Moral relativism is what I was getting at with my example. I think there is a degree of moral unifomity, but it is amazing to me how divergant moral ideals can be, even if we limit our scope to modern society.

If we widen our scope to the whole of history . . . .
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Old March 16th, 2011, 01:01 PM   #6

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The girls with the neck-rings...

Quote:
Neck rings push the collarbone and ribs down. The weight of the rings twists the collarbone and eventually the upper ribs at an angle 45 degrees lower then what is natural,causing the illusion of an elongateed neck. When the coils are removed,there is no health danger. The only concern is that the neck muscles are atrophied,and are understandably weaker then the rest of the nody. However,there is no proven medical concern for the removal of the coils. Despite the apperance of a longer neck,the neck is not stretched by the rings. Rather,they push down on the muscles around the collarbone giving the impression of a long neck.
Neck_ring Neck_ring



... are called Kayan Lahwi, meaning "Long Necked Karen". They are originally a Burmese tribe, but some of them fled across the border into Thailand around the 1900's. The Thai government, although having let return 20.000 native Burmese, have prevented some 20 Giraffe Neck Women from doing so, effectively keeping them in a human zoo for (mainly western ) tourists.

Burmese women in Thai ‘human zoo’ for Neck Rings « Whiteflash?s Fashion Accessories & Jewelry Insight Blog

Karen Long Neck hilltribe - Padaung, Northern Thailand
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Old March 16th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Zeno View Post
The girls with the neck-rings...

Neck ring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



... are called Kayan Lahwi, meaning "Long Necked Karen". They are originally a Burmese tribe, but some of them fled across the border into Thailand around the 1900's. The Thai government, although having let return 20.000 native Burmese, have prevented some 20 Giraffe Neck Women from doing so, effectively keeping them in a human zoo for (mainly western ) tourists.

Burmese women in Thai ‘human zoo’ for Neck Rings « Whiteflash?s Fashion Accessories & Jewelry Insight Blog

Karen Long Neck hilltribe - Padaung, Northern Thailand
But what is the rational, why did the practice of Neck ringing develop?
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Old March 16th, 2011, 09:53 PM   #8

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The origins of culture are in emotions, which all humans have. This explains the commonalities such as art, language, weapons, social gatherings etc. How these commonalities develop depends on geography, resources, challenges and *very importantly* leading figures. In a society, there are always a few individuals who excell and influence the others. Imitation is the highest form of complementing, which means that leading figures cause others to act and try to look like them, creating for social trends and the representation of beauty.

To try to put this all together, we can consider a desert area representing the geography. Obtaining water would be the challenge. A person with exceptional skills to find it would be an influential figure, and the methods he/she used would likely result in arts such as songs, paintings and/or dances made to illustrate these practices, as well as the normal methods adopted by others. The person would probably be lean and have endurance, leading this to represent the ideal form of sexual attraction (beauty).

A coastal culture would, of course, differ, leading to an alternate representation of beauty. The extent of the contrasts would depend on the various challenges eg: diseases, adversaries, diet... and the resources available, combined with the methods used by the leading figures.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 09:55 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Mike McClure View Post
But what is the rational, why did the practice of Neck ringing develop?
I remember a documentary saying that people with such necks made poor slaves, so the slave traders left them alone. This led to the trend.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 06:24 AM   #10

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Quote:
The origins of culture are in emotions, which all humans have. This explains the commonalities such as art, language, weapons, social gatherings etc. How these commonalities develop depends on geography, resources, challenges and *very importantly* leading figures. In a society, there are always a few individuals who excell and influence the others. Imitation is the highest form of complementing, which means that leading figures cause others to act and try to look like them, creating for social trends and the representation of beauty.
Does this mean that culture is relatively arbitrary?
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