Culture and Personality

Personality is the key factor in defining individual uniqueness and shaping an individual's course through life.Psychological anthropology focuses on enculturation, the process by which culture is passed from one generation to the next.The study of culture and personality, enables us to learn about cross-cultural similarities and differences in human development, as well as their consequences for characteristic styles of psychological adaptation. Through the study of child-rearing practices, anthropologists are better able to understand the relationship between culture and personality.
"Thefirst agents of enculturation in all societies are the members of the household into which a person is born" (Haviland 2002: 120).This enculturation process primarily begins with the mother and father.Depending on the society, siblings, grandparents andfamily members may be brought into the enculturation process, as well as other individuals as the child matures.In the United States professionals are brought in to provide children with form instruction for enculturation, while other societies allow children to learn at their own speed through observation and participation.A child's environment and evolvement of self-awareness are key to personality development.In order for a child's behavioral environment to fully emerge, the child must "learn about a world of objects other than self," gain "a sense of both spatial and temporal orientation", as well as a "normative orientation, or understanding of the values, ideals, and standards that constitute the behavioral environment" (Haviland 2002: 146).
"Anthropologists view childhood experiences as strongly influencing adult personality" (Haviland 2002: 129).The process of enculturation can determine the type of behavior a child's personality will promote, whether it be controlling and aggressive or passive an…

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