Outcome: Elements of Culture

Describe the basic elements of culture

How should you greet someone you just met? If you are walking on the sidewalk and look up to see that someone is walking towards you, which way should you move? How should you stand in an elevator? Where should you sit in a near-empty movie theatre?

These are all examples of social norms you’ve come to understand over your lifetime. In this section, we’ll learn how these norms develop, and even learn about breaching experiments, when people intentionally break these norms. Here’s one famous example from an elevator:

What You’ll Learn To Do:

  • Describe cultural values and beliefs
  • Describe cultural norms
  • Explain the significance of symbols and language to a culture
  • Explain the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis


The learning activities for this section include:

  • Reading: Values and Beliefs
  • Reading: Social Norms
  • Reading: Symbols and Language
  • Self-Check: Elements of Culture