Topic: Behavioral Determinants
Behavior patterns tend to distinguish one cultural group from every other group. These cultural differences make each new country we visit a little different from the all the others. Cultural behaviors are those behaviors that everyone in a particular group of people has in common with each other. They also set the group apart from every other group. However, because of universal behavior, not everything about people in a new culture is going to be different; some of what is already known about human behavior will apply in a host country. For example, different cultural groups employ different utensils to take a meal, but all people chew their food. The use of a fork as opposed to chop sticks or fingers is a cultural behavior. Chewing food is universal. These universal health determinants are common to all people groups. On the other hand, personal behavioral attributes differentiate us from everyone else, including those people in our group. Therefore, not everything we learn about a host culture will apply in equal measure, or at all, to every individual in that culture.
Think about different cultures or subcultures to which you have been exposed. Think of five behaviors which you believe to be cultural. (Eating utensils are not acceptable answers.) Identify the culture to which the behavior belongs and explain your assignment of the behavior to the cultural category.
You are then to read the posts of your classmates and identify behaviors which you believe to be less culturally determined than the original posts suggest. State whether you believe the behavior to be more individual or more personal in nature. Explain the rationale for your opinion. When possible provide additional cultural settings where the same behavior may be practiced to suggest a universal behavior or describe how the behavior may be a more personal practice that transcends culture. Although this assignment has no requirement to access or research literature, consultation with sources beyond the texts may prove beneficial.
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