Definition of Cultural Adaptation

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    Culture and Survival

    • Unlike most organisms, people respond to their environment in ways influenced by culture. Prescientific societies focused more on moral belief systems and religions when shaping their society. Cultural behavior is an expression of cultural information similar to how genetic behavior is an expression of genetic information. Organisms that have survived for a long period mostly have characteristics that helped them survive. If culture is widespread among humanity, there must be an evolutionary reason.

    Culture and Behavior

    • Behavior and culture intersect. Cultural behavior is partially influenced by genetics and the environment. It varies as a result of learned behavior, not due to differences in genetics. However, biological restraints, such as cognitive abilities and vocal structures, restrict the ability of an organism to transfer cultural information.

    Adapting to a Culture

    • People must adapt to new cultures when they come in contact with them. This adaptation often occurs through a series of stages, including the honeymoon stage, culture shock stage, recovery stage and adaptation stage. When people spend much time in a new culture, it's likely that they adapt so well that they experience reverse culture shock when they return to their old culture.


    • Some adjust to new cultures by adopting biculturalism, which is when an individual tries to integrate two different cultures, so they can coexist. Sometimes, people might live in one dominant culture when they exit their home, for work, school or some other reason, then return to their family's culture when they come home. Biculturalism is common when couples from different cultures marry.

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