Culture and Personality


Culture refers to the shared beliefs, values, customs, and behaviors that characterize a group or society. Culture is transmitted from one generation to the next and shapes the way individuals perceive the world and interact with others. Personality refers to the unique set of psychological traits and characteristics that define an individual and influence their behavior. Personality is shaped by a combination of factors, including biology, upbringing, and experiences.

The Culture and Personality School of thoughts

The School of Culture and Personality t argues that culture has a significant impact on shaping personality. According to this theory, cultural values and beliefs influence the development of personality by providing a framework for how individuals should behave and think. Overall, the School of Culture and Personality emphasizes the interplay between culture and personality, and the importance of considering both cultural and individual factors when understanding human behavior.

Additionally, the theory suggests that personality is not just shaped by cultural factors, but also shapes culture. For example, individuals with certain personality traits may be more likely to adopt certain cultural practices or contribute to cultural change.

What are the Impacts of Personality on Culture?

In anthropology, the relationship between personality and culture is complex and reciprocal. While culture shapes personality, personality can also shape culture in various ways. Here are some ways that personality can impact the culture in anthropology

  • Cultural transmission − Individuals with certain personality traits may be more likely to adopt certain cultural practices or contribute to cultural change. For example, individuals who are innovative and open to new ideas may be more likely to embrace cultural change, while those who are resistant to change may hold onto traditional cultural practices.

  • Social structure − Personality can impact the formation and maintenance of social structures, such as family relationships, political systems, and economic organizations. For example, individuals with strong leadership skills may be more likely to rise to positions of power and influence, while those with cooperative and collaborative personalities may be more likely to work well in group settings.

  • Cultural creativity − Individuals with creative personalities may play a role in shaping cultural expressions, such as art, music, and literature. For example, artists and writers with unique perspectives may contribute to cultural diversity and influence cultural values and beliefs.

What are the Impacts of Culture on Personality Formation?

In anthropology, the impact of culture on personality formation is widely recognized as a crucial factor. Culture plays a significant role in shaping personality by providing a framework for how individuals should behave and think. Here are some ways that culture impacts personality formation −

  • Socialization − Culture shapes personality through the process of socialization, this is how individuals learn the norms, values, and beliefs of their culture. Cultural practices, such as religious rituals and customs, as well as interactions with family, friends, and peers, all contribute to the formation of an individual's personality.

  • Cultural values and beliefs − Culture influences personality through the values and beliefs it promotes. For example, a culture that values individualism may encourage individuals to be self-reliant and independent, while a culture that emphasizes collectivism may promote cooperative and interdependent behavior.

  • Role models − Culture provides individuals with role models who embody cultural values and beliefs. These role models can have a significant impact on the formation of personality, especially during the formative years of childhood and adolescence.

  • Enculturation − Culture also shapes personality through the process of enculturation, this is how individuals internalize cultural values and beliefs.

Criticisms on Culture and Personality Theory

The Culture and Personality School of thought has faced several criticisms over the years. Here are some of the most prominent criticisms −

  • Determinism − Critics argue that the Culture and Personality theory is overly deterministic, implying that culture completely determines personality. This ignores the influence of biological and individual factors on personality development.

  • Lack of cultural variability − The theory has been criticized for oversimplifying cultural variability and not adequately accounting for cultural diversity. The theory does not account for the complexity of cultural influences on personality and the wide range of cultural practices and beliefs found across different societies.

  • Lack of empirical evidence − Some critics argue that there is limited empirical evidence to support the Culture and Personality theory and that the evidence that does exist is often based on limited and culturally biased samples.

  • Lack of attention to context − Critics argue that the theory does not adequately account for the context-specific nature of cultural influences on personality. For example, cultural influences on personality may vary depending on the individual's social status, gender, age, or other factors.

  • Generalizations − Critics argue that the Culture and Personality theory often makes generalizations about cultural influences on personality that do not hold for all individuals within a culture.


Culture has a big influence on how people become who they are. This idea contends that cultural values and beliefs act as a framework for behavior and thought, which has an impact on how people build their personalities. In general, the School of Culture and Personality emphasizes the interaction of culture with personality as well as the significance of taking into account both cultural and personal aspects when analyzing behavioral patterns in people.


Q1. Who created the personality and culture?

Ans. The Culture and Personality school of thought, credited to anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead, used Edward Sapir's research to explain connections between human behaviors and childrearing practices in various countries.

Q2. What components makeup culture?

Ans. The main components of culture include relics, symbols, language, rules, and values. Effective social contact is made possible by language, which also shapes how people conceptualize ideas and things.

Q3. What are basic personality and modal personality?

Ans. In anthropology, the concepts of basic personality and modal personality are used to describe the structure and variation of personality traits within a culture. Basic personality refers to the inherent and stable patterns of behavior and cognition in an individual, while modal personality refers to the most common or typical personality traits found within a culture.

Updated on: 16-Mar-2023


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