"Human nature and culture"-lecture given by Roy F. Baumeister, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, U.S.A
Roy F. Baumeister, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, gave a lecture entitled "Human nature and culture" in Room B214 of the Zhenhua Building in the afternoon of June 8, 2018.
Dr. Roy F. Baumeister mainly discussed the basic question: what is the human mind designed for? Dr. Baumeister pointed out the research direction of nature and culture. That is to say, evolutionary psychology mainly studies the similarities between humans and animals, while cultural psychology mainly studies the differences across different cultures. Here, he revealed that the key to understand human nature should rest with the differences between humans and animals, along with the similarities among cultures.
Then Dr. Baumeister began a discussion on the culture itself. He thought that the property and power of the human mind made culture possible, which was also the answer to that basic question. Although humans and some animals can both be social, but the real distinction lies in culture, which increases the power of human brain. Dr. Baumeister defines culture as: An information-based system to allow people to live together in organized fashion and satisfy biological, social needs.
At last, Dr. Baumeister talked about adaptations for culture at all levels. In addition, there may be contradictions between nature and culture. For example: nature makes us selfish, and culture demands sacrifices from individuals. This may lead to war, genocide, pollution, injustice, and so on. However, culture has advanced far beyond what natural selection created, and greatly improved the level of survival and reproduction.
In conclusion，humans may not be the only, or even the most social of animals. But humans are the most cultural of animals and are the only ones who rely utterly on culture in most aspects of life.
Dr. Liu Yi, Qu Xiaoyan, Xie Tian, Zhang Chunmei, Fei Dingzhou and other faculty members attended this lecture, as well as Students from Psychological Departments.
Dr. Baumeister has researched social psychology for over four decades. He was renowned as the ISI highly cited researcher in 2003 and 2014. On account of the profound and lasting impacts in his fields of study, he was elected as one of the top 30 psychologists of the modern era by the journal of the American Psychological Association.