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@Clues 2024

The Cultural Model of the Mind

"Culture is the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another." - Geert Hofstede

The cultural model of the human mind suggests that culture has a big influence on how the brain works. It affects how we process information, how we understand the world, and how we respond to what's around us. For example, the values and beliefs of a culture can shape how we see and categorize things. such as the role of education, religion, the family unit, and other major aspects of life.

This model shows that it's important to understand how culture affects the brain, so we can understand how people from different cultures think and behave. It suggests that the brain is not only shaped by culture, but also plays a role in shaping culture itself.


Some examples of how this model applies:

  1. The influence of cultural identity on self-esteem and personal beliefs.
  2. The impact of cultural factors on mental health, such as the cultural differences in help-seeking behaviors.
  3. The impact of cultural background on the development of moral reasoning and ethical decision-making.
  4. The role of culture in shaping interpersonal relationships, such as family dynamics and romantic relationships.
  5. The influence of cultural factors on career choices, educational attainment, and life goals.

Important People in the Cultural Model

Here's a handful of people that are original contributors to the cultural model in psychology:

  • Lev Vygotsky, who developed the sociocultural theory, which emphasizes the role of cultural and social factors in cognitive development.
  • Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, who developed the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which proposes that language shapes thought and perception.
  • Geert Hofstede, who developed the cultural dimensions theory, which proposes that cultures can be characterized by different values and norms.
  • Ruth Benedict, who studied the influence of culture on personality and behavior, and who wrote the influential book "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword."
  • Margaret Mead, who studied the influence of culture on gender roles and sexuality, and who wrote the influential book "Coming of Age in Samoa."

Questions for Self-Inquiry

Here’s a list of questions that you can ask yourself to evaluate the role of culture in your psychological development: 

  1. What cultural beliefs and values have shaped my upbringing and worldview?
  2. How has my cultural background influenced my self-identity and self-esteem?
  3. How does my cultural background impact my relationships with others?
  4. How has my cultural experience influenced my perceptions of mental health and seeking help?
  5. In what ways has my cultural background influenced my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors?
  6. How has my cultural background affected my beliefs and attitudes towards different social, political, and cultural issues?
  7. How does my cultural background impact my goals and aspirations for the future?