Essay on Cultural Exploration

Published: 2021/12/16
Number of words: 1806

Culture and Psychology


Culture is the origins of a group and its traditions or heritage that define the group’s organization. Culture is, therefore, the general characteristics of a group such as clothing, food, housing, family and individual activities, religion, welfare, economy and transportation, sex and the life cycle, science, government and community, and technology (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). To better understand psychology from a cultural perspective, one must appreciate what culture is. People use culture, ethnicity, nationality, and race interchangeably as if they all mean the same. However, these terms are neither the same nor do they have the same concepts. People use culture in various ways and concepts, such as explaining various behaviors, activities, structures, and events in life (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Additionally, people use culture to describe norms, problem-solving, rules, and the learning processes. The concept of culture has diverse meanings in other cultures. For instance, culture refers to food, history, or art in France, in Japan, it refers to tea ceremony or flower arranging. On the other hand, culture may mean religious rituals and traditions in the United Arab Emirates (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). The concept of culture is, therefore, culture-bound in itself.

The Origins of Culture

Culture originates from four main cultural sources: evolved human mind, resources, environment, and group life. Under group life, human beings are classified as social animals that live in groups. Living in groups is far much better than living alone. Some advantages of living in groups are the increased rate of survival through division of labor and completion of many tasks compared to an individual (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). However, living in groups has negative impacts, especially social conflicts that come when people live together. Another source of culture is the environment. Groups exist in particular surroundings. The ecologies of the specific surroundings where groups live determine how they live. One ecological aspect that determines culture is the climate (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Different parts of the world experience different climate conditions. For instance, South Korea’s Seoul and New York in the United States experience miserable hot summers and harsh winters. The ecological differences of different parts of the world influence how people live, resulting in cultural practices (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). These cultural differences manifest in ritual practices, dress styles, walking styles, architecture, and traditions.

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The third source of cultural origins is resources. Natural resources play a big role in influencing the culture of people. For instance, a land with no natural resources will promote community spirit and teamwork among people who live in the area who establish interrelationships with people from areas with abundant natural resources for their survival (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). The relationships and varied needs help promote psychological attributes and characteristics of interdependence, community spirit, and teamwork. On the contrary, people living in areas with abundant natural resources will not value the attributes of interdependence, community spirit, and teamwork in their culture (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Money is perhaps the major resource that influences culture today.

Lastly, evolved human minds also influence the cultural practices of people. People are not born with complete blank slates. People are born well equipped with minds that can adapt and deal with problems posed by their surroundings. The degree of survival depends on how people adapt to their surroundings (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Additionally, people must also understand the context they live in for their survival. To do so, people are born with specific motives and needs. They are also born with specific psychological toolkits that enable them to adapt and survive within their environment.

Culture of New York City

New York City is the cultural capital of the world. New York culture is reflected in its ethnic diversity and size. Most of the cultural movements in America were initiated in New York City. The large influx of migrants from Italy, Ireland, Jewish, Hispanic Americans, and Asians in the 20th century had a significant influence on the cultural practices and image of New York City (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). This influx of emigrants made New York City the center of stand-up comedy and modern dance. New York City became home of jazz music in the 1940s, the top venue for beat generation, punk rock and hip hop in the 1970s, and expressionism in the 1950s (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). The City boasts of the Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village. Stonewall Inn is a designated United States National Monument and National Historic Landmark. It acts as the site of the Stonewall riots of June 1969 and the modern gay rights movement cradle (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Various American cultural movements like Harlem Renaissance started in New York City that led to the establishment of the Africa-America literacy canon.

New York City has very diverse cultural practices that influenced most of the American cultural movements. Among the cultural practices in New York City are music, visual arts, public art, film, dance, theatre, stand-up comedy, comic books, museums, festivals, and parades. The dressing style of New York City is influenced by the harsh climate conditions the city experiences (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). New York City experiences very hot summer seasons and very cold winter seasons. It is common to see people in the City dressed in very heavy clothing during the winter than in the summer (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). During the summer seasons, people dress in very light clothes, mostly wearing boxers and pants as the weather is extremely hot. On the contrary, winter seasons are occasioned with people wearing cold-preventing clothes like heavy hoods and jumpers.

The City of New York is the birthplace of most of the music genres played in the United States. Music genres such as Jazz music, hip hop, punk rock, and blues all originate from New York. New York City has the status of the European classical music center. This status dates back to the early nineteenth century (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). The formation of the New York Philharmonic in 1842 helped in establishing the musical reputation of the City. New York City is also known for its visual arts culture. The City hosted the 1913 Armory Show, an exhibition that paved the way for European modernist artists to enter the United States (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). The Armory Show influenced American artists in two ways. First, art-making is not all about realism or aesthetics but also about expression, and secondly, it encouraged American artists to find their modernist movement and personal voice.

The culture of New York City is also manifested in the choice of food. Most Americans living in the City have diversified food preferences and tastes. The African-Americans (Black Americans) prefer their indigenous food while Asians, Hispanic Americans, and Latin Americans prefer their native food of cheese, buggers, minced beef, and other junk-type kinds of food (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). It is common to find various hotels in the City selling indigenous African foods like roasted meat, rice. Asian food is also common in the City. Foods like snakes, snails, and other wild animals are commonly associated with Asians, particularly Japanese, Chinese, and South Koreans.

New York City also manifests cultural diversity in religious practices. The City is the home of all religious beliefs and customs such as Christianity, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc. Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States, with about 71% of Americans identifying themselves as Christians (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). About 80% of people living in New York City are Christians (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Islamic is the least practiced religion in the City, with about 1.2% of people (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Hindus and Jews form the remaining percentage of religious practices in the City. New York City is also the origin of most religious practices currently practiced in the United States of America. For instance, Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) was founded in New York by White G (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). The church later spread to other parts of the United States and later to the whole world.

The City of New York also takes credit for championing filming in the United States. Although it has a smaller film industry as compared to Hollywood, the City’s film industry generates billions of dollars for the economy of the United States. New York has the second largest film industry after Hollywood in California. The City acted as the film-making epicenter in the earliest days of the film industry in America. The City is associated with the Kaufman-Astoria film studio (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). The Marx Brothers used the studio during the silent film era. New York City boasts over a third of professional film actors in America. Other than film-making, the City of New York also boosts dancing cultural practices. Modern dance emerged in New York in the early 20th century (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). Modern dance is distinctively American art. It is majorly associated with the Americans pioneered by Ruth St. Denis.

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New York City is the home of stand-up comedy. It is considered the heart of stand-up comedy by many Americans. The City harbors many leading comedy clubs such as Caroline’s. The existence of stand-up comedy clubs in the City gives it a unique identity as the epicenter of comedy in the United States. Stand-up comedy is a unique cultural practice used by Americans living the New York City to identify themselves from other Americans (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). It is a cultural practice uniquely associated with Americans, particularly those in the City of New York.

The City of New York also takes credit for the inventory of comic books in the early 1930s, which is a cultural practice popular among Americans. The invention of comic books led to massive growth and development of newspapers in New York City as newspaper producers became more creative and visionary. For instance, superheroes owe their origin to New York, although Superman (the first superhero) was created by artists from Ohio’s town of Cleveland (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). New York City also boasts of museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is the most important and world largest museum of art. The presence of museum arts in the City of New York gives a sense of cultural heritage to New Yorkers. They feel associated with the history and traditions of the United States. New York City also boasts other museum arts, such as the Museum of Modern Art (Matsumoto & Juang, 2017). This museum is regarded as the rival to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Another museum is the Brooklyn Museum which is one of the largest museums in America and is regarded as the second-largest museum in the City of New York.


Matsumoto, D., & Juang, L. (2017). Culture and psychology. 6th Edition

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