The human mental programming is an essential part of social interactions and it facilitates behavioural patterns. The programming consists of three major levels: personality, culture and human nature. At the bottom of the human mental programming pyramid is human nature, which is a highly basic level. It is known to be universal across societies because it is mainly inherited through genes. The middle section is culture, and it possesses properties of being specific to a group of people. Culture is passed from older generations to younger ones; therefore, at this level, the programming is learned and acquired due to the surrounding social environment (Morris, Hong, Chiu, & Liu, 2015). Lastly, the personality part of the human mental programming pyramid is highly unique for an individual. A person’s character is a result of influences from both genetics and environmental factors. Therefore, each type of programming targets different number of people.
Every culture possesses layers, which are different in terms of their observability. There are three main cultural layers: artifacts, values and assumptions (Sonnino, 2017). Artifacts are considered to be the most visible layers of culture due to the fact that these properties are easily formed. Stereotypes are widely spread across the nations, although an individual might not share stereotypical characteristics (Leung & Morris, 2015). In contrast to artifacts, values are not effortless to observe; however, people can generally determine the underlying values of a given culture. On the other hand, the assumptions are deeply hidden and it is highly challenging to define them without an immersive study. All of these layers form core ideas of culture.
There are two main commonly accepted views on the nature of culture dynamics, which are static and fluid. The onion or static model claims that culture cannot be altered, whereas the ocean or dynamic model is focused on fluidity and malleability (Kashima, Bain, & Perfors, 2019). Although cultures are highly resilient and resistant to influences, they are constantly undergoing significant changes. For instance, the United States practiced and endorsed slavery for centuries, however, critical social shifts abolished this immoral practice. Nowadays, American culture and views position themselves as the leading example of freedom and democracy. The term “ocean” is used as a representation of ever-changing wave patterns and various surface motions (Kashima, 2017). It means that cultures might look static, nevertheless, they experience frequent alterations from other nations and new social trends. All these properties of fluidity clearly suggest that the ocean model gives a more practical representation of culture dynamics.
In conclusion, cultures are tightly connected to defining features of numerous nations, because they act as a unit of analysis for a given culture. Nations function as a proxy unit that makes identifying a person’s characteristics effortless. The human mental programming pyramid consists of three main parts, and each possesses different properties. Although there are static and fluid models of culture, it is challenging to conclusively define the nature of culture dynamics.
Kashima, Y. (2017). Cultural dynamics. Current Opinion in Psychology, 8(1), 93-97.
Kashima, Y., Bain, P. G., & Perfors, A. (2019). The psychology of cultural dynamics: What is it, what do we know, and what is yet to be known? Annual Review of Psychology, 70(3), 499-529.
Leung, K., & Morris, M. W. (2015). Values, schemas, and norms in the culture–Behavior nexus: A situated dynamics framework. Journal of International Business Studies, 46(9), 1028-1050.
Morris, M. W., Hong, Y., Chiu, C., & Liu, Z. (2015). Normology: Integrating insights about social norms to understand cultural dynamics. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 129(5), 1-13.
Sonnino, R. (2017). The cultural dynamics of urban food governance. City, Culture and Society, 13(1), 22-37.