What is culture? Culture is a complex fabric of ideas and values that are passed on from generation to generation. It is an inherited heritage that shapes the way we live and behave. The process of culture transfer occurs through social transmission. As such, it is a process that occurs over time, with each generation adding to the reservoir. Culture is often described as a fabric of society. Its importance is obvious, but there are many different ways to define it.
The emergence of culture in human societies is historical. Different groups of people exhibit different ways of life, from hordes to high-level executives. Various levels of education create micro-cultures within societies. Religion is an important part of all cultures, expressed through rituals, deities, and hidden within the language. People in different regions behave differently, which contributes to the fabric of human society.
Cultures vary in the ways they express their emotions. Australians rub their noses and Chinese place their cheeks against each other. Westerners kiss their partners. While some cultures spit on their partners, other groups do not. Men in the United States and Italy are allowed to laugh and cry in public, yet the physiological factors that determine men’s emotions have little to do with these differences. In fact, climate, geography, and genetics cannot explain the wide range of human experiences.
To understand how culture contributes to the fabric of human society, it must be seen as a product of evolutionary processes and mechanisms. The evolutionary process itself is a complex one, which must include both learning and culture. It must account for the specific components of human culture, including social constructions and higher order knowledge structures. However, human cultures are distinct from animals in many ways. While these differences may not directly contribute to human fitness, the evolution of cultures must be based on specific psychological processes and mechanisms.