Top-Down Influences on Culture


Top-Down Influences on Culture

Of course,  bottom-up influences are only part of the picture. There are also very powerful top-down influences on our population’s behavior as various levels of our government adopt laws and rules that can strongly affect, even regulate,  how people behave to each other. Some examples of top-down influences are the profound growth of government control, increasing taxes and the legalization of pornography, gambling, marijuana (under the pretext of medical applications) and a media that increasingly attacks traditional family and religious values and showcases antisocial behavior through its many venues.

What happens in our culture when top-down influences evolve that are in strong conflict with traditional bottom up influences; or, when subcultures bring their own dramatically different top-down and bottom-up forces into our existing socioculture? What happens to families and the future citizens that they produce when science and technology alter the physical, social and moral environment dramatic ways? How do these environmental changes impact the principles of psychology that shape the ways in which we and our children see, feel and behave toward each other?

These are only some of the  “big picture” concerns that need our closest attention. It is good to mention these major issues now,  because these are the ones we must attempt to answer in the end. With some of these larger issues in mind,  we can be on the look-out for the smaller (seemingly insignificant) factors that may be powerfully related to big and very important cultural outcomes.

We will return to these big picture concerns in due time. But, in order to understand the larger dynamics of cultural change, we must first understand a few key principles of psychology and how they powerfully influence the behavior of individuals within a population.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.  4/18/10

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4 Responses to “Top-Down Influences on Culture”

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