How Do You Define Culture?
Culture is a very complex concept, which incorporates multiple elements that can be of importance to its comprehension. From my perspective, culture refers to the products of the intellectual activity of human society (the individual or collective activities of humans) that may have tangible and intangible manifestations. The examples of the former cultural phenomena include, for instance, technological achievements and arts; the examples of the latter cultural phenomena involve customs and traditions.
I find the interrelationships between culture and humans interesting, and I would like to discuss this aspect of culture. People tend to preserve cultural phenomena, which is how the latter develop their significance and can grow to have an impact on humanity. Indeed, cultural phenomena impact humans; they are even shown to affect the development of personalities (Burger, 2015). On the other hand, it is possible to find the examples of the cultural objects and phenomena that do not have a notable impact on humans or specific groups of humans.
For instance, the customs and norms of a society tend to have an impact on the people they belong to, but other peoples remain unaffected by them. Moreover, it is technically possible to fight the influence of cultural factors, and it may be necessary for a person’s psychological health. An example is the modern Western perspective on beauty standards that is known to mutilate people’s self-esteem and result in multiple issues from depression to anorexia (Chrisler, 2014). Similarly, cultural stigma related to mental illnesses can reduce help-seeking behaviors in people with mental issues (Han & Pong, 2015), and this problem seems to need to be combated. As a question to the class, I suggest reviewing the instances in which cultural impacts on humans are unwanted or detrimental.
When reviewing my definition and the elements that I have found interesting, I think that there are some similarities between my perspective and those of my peers. For example, we all note the fact that culture stems from people and we attempt to connect our definitions to people, which implies that we focus on the origins of culture. However, there are differences in the details: for instance, my peers tend to illustrate differences between cultures (for example, between Islamic and non-Islamic ones). On the other hand, I focus on the interrelationships between humans and culture and try to categorize cultural phenomena. In summary, I would suggest that our definitions are similar in essence but have different means of expressing and exemplifying it.
The Biopsychosocial Model of Behavior
The Biopsychosocial Model of Behavior (BMB) is one of the holistic approaches to behavior explanations because it acknowledges the influence of multiple factors on a person’s behavior (Rodgers, Paxton, & McLean, 2014). The factors include biological ones (those related to a person’s biology), psychological ones (those related to psychology), and social ones (which are external and refer to the society’s impact). The social factors include the cultural ones, and therefore, BMB directly implies that culture can affect a person’s behavior and demonstrates the mechanisms through which the process takes place.
An example of the application of BMB is the consideration of the nutritional behaviors of a person. They can be related to one’s biology; for example, if a person experiences a disorder that requires the adjustment of diet (obesity, cardiovascular issues, and so on), such biological factors can affect one’s nutritional behaviors (Mitchell, Petrie, Greenleaf, & Martin, 2016). On the other hand, psychological determinants are also of importance. For instance, multiple psychological problems, including disorders and self-esteem issues can result in destructive behaviors, which, among other things, may involve inappropriate nutrition (Rodgers et al., 2014). The latter can include, for example, the refusal to take into account health-related recommendations or the decision to significantly reduce one’s food intake.
However, nutritional behaviors can also be connected to sociocultural factors. For example, modern sociocultural appearance perspectives and pressures have been shown to have detrimental effects on nutrition, resulting, among other things, in insufficient food intake (Mitchell et al., 2016; Rodgers et al., 2014). In fact, the mentioned perspective can become internalized and cause various psychological issues (low self-esteem, eating disorders, depression, and so on), thus forming an interconnection between psychological and social elements of BMB. Therefore, BMB can trace and explain the way cultural factors can affect a person’s behavior and implies that complex interrelationships can exist between the various factors. As a question to the class, I would suggest exploring these interrelationships to a greater extent and consider the concept of a holistic model: does BMB imply that the interrelationships between its three sectors are to be expected and, possibly, can be viewed as a typical occurrence?
According to Mio, Barker, and Rodriquez (2015), multiculturalism refers to the field of philosophy that examines the events in which multiple cultures share the same settings and provides the explanation of the specifics of their coexistence. Mio et al. (2015) highlight the fact that the term is not exclusive to psychology and has affected multiple other fields of human activity, including, for example, politics. The authors also point out that there are no conclusive statements in multiculturalism because it has been viewed from multiple perspectives, but Mio et al. (2015) make suggestions regarding the key notions of the philosophy.
The first notion to be considered by the authors is that of tolerance, which they exemplify with religious tolerance and define as the unbiased, objective attitude towards the perspectives that one does not share and people who are somehow different from one. In other words, a tolerant person treats everybody fairly regardless of their differences. However, Mio et al. (2015) state that tolerance may be insufficient for a multicultural society since it does not presuppose the celebration of differences. Thus, the second notion of multiculturalism, which is respect, requires valuing the different cultures present in a multicultural society, which can culminate in the celebration of diversity.
Then, the authors mention the third notion, which is inclusion. In an inclusive society, the facts of unfair exclusion of certain groups are noted, and a call for combating the issue is made. The authors use the example of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in which legal provisions are made to ensure the inclusion of the historically excluded individuals with disabilities. For instance, the Act focuses on equal employment opportunities, stating that potential employers can not discriminate Americans with disabilities on the basis of their disability. Similarly, the authors mention the structural changes in buildings that are required by the Act to ensure access and accommodation for people with certain challenges.
The authors also consider the topic of sensitivity, which, in their words, is crucial from the perspective of multiculturalism. They employ the example of the use of gender-inclusive language to illustrate the notion and state that sensitivity can be manifested in the understanding of the values and practices of the diverse groups present in a multicultural society. Finally, the authors describe the notion of equity, which can be defined as the equal treatment of people belonging to different groups. In particular, they highlight the significance of ensuring the equal access of various populations to necessities like food and education.
Burger, J. (2015). Personality. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Chrisler, J. (2014). The body positive approach to healthy embodiment: Review of Embody: Learning to love your unique body (and quiet that critical voice!), by Connie Sobczak. Fat Studies, 4(1), 58-61. Web.
Han, M., & Pong, H. (2015). Mental health help-seeking behaviors among Asian American community college students: The effect of stigma, cultural barriers, and acculturation. Journal of College Student Development, 56(1), 1-14. Web.
Mio, J., Barker, L., & Rodriquez, M.D. (2015). Multicultural psychology: Understanding our diverse communities (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Mitchell, S., Petrie, T., Greenleaf, C., & Martin, S. (2016). A biopsychosocial model of dietary restraint in early adolescent boys. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 37(5), 593-617. Web.
Rodgers, R., Paxton, S., & McLean, S. (2014). A biopsychosocial model of body image concerns and disordered eating in early adolescent girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(5), 814-823. Web.