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institution

Author(s): 
Toshio Yamagishi
Date: 
Mon, 2010-02-01
Abstract: 
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Humans think, communicate, and behave to adapt to a particular social ecology, and by doing so they collectively create, maintain, and change the very ecology (i.e., social niche) they adapt to. The niche construction approach to culture analyzes how people induce each other to think and behave in particular ways by behaving in particular ways themselves. The best support to this approach is found when cultural differences in cognition and behavior that are regularly observed in everyday life disappears in a social vacuum – in a situation in which people are rid of any social concern about implications of their behavior and can express their thoughts and behave free of any social concern. Examples of such experimental manipulations are presented and discussed.

Author(s): 
TOSHIO YAMAGISHI AND NAOTO SUZUKI
Date: 
Wed, 2007-08-01
Abstract: 

The goal of this chapter is to offer an institutional approach to analyzing culture as a self-sustaining system of beliefs. Cultural psychologists examine the mutual constitution of the mind and culture (cf., Markus and Kitayama, 1991). For example, Kim and Markus (1999) argue that preferences shared by a majority of people in a culture come to constitute social norms for that culture, and that social norms in a culture are internalized as preferences. While agreeing with the idea of the mutual constitution of mind and culture, we argue in this chapter that this process is not a simple aggregation of individual preferences into social norms and subsequent internalization by individuals; rather, the process of mutual constitution of mind and culture is mediated by social institutions.