An intense classroom discussion on cultural syndromes and their effects on human cognitive process, specifically, how and what we think, has got me, well, thinking.
Triandis defined cultural syndromes as shared patterns of attitudes, beliefs, categorizations, self-beliefs, norms, role definitions, values, and other subjective elements of nature organized around a theme: linguistic traditions, geography, historical periodicity, etc.
My question is: How do people/groups/societies actually construct these “syndromes”? How do they become universal themes? In other words, what is the process by which a cultural syndrome is manifest?
It can be assumed that history, geography, ecology, linguistic traditions, et al have a role to play in the construction of a syndrome, but then how does the behaviour that accrues from these variables manifest itself? And how is transmitted across members of that culture?
Further, what happens when a syndrome(s) is/are not relevant to the current context anymore? As might be the case in geographical displacement for instance? The logical deduction would be that a new syndrome would be created…but from what? Would it be built off existing syndromes or deviate completely from existing norms? And how would these new beliefs, values, attitudes be transmitted so that they become accessible to the collective memory, and thus form a universal theme? And where does the individual fit in all of this?
It’s time to play detective! Will it be elementary, my dear Watson(s)?