Week 2 Paper Training
The information in this document is designed to train you for the week 2 paper and will give
you everything you need to know for the week 2 quiz.
Last week, when we discussed self-concept, we addressed the importance of culture in
establishing the standards for what we strive for, in terms of setting our goals and determining
the labels we want to be associated with. The cultural images and ideas around us are the basis
of “social comparison,” and this is instrumental to how we evaluate ourselves and establish and
maintain self-esteem. This week, we will continue to focus on culture, with an emphasis on the
links between culture and communication. To get to the patterns of communication that result
from cultural training, you will write a paper about culture this week, where you focus on
culture and verbal/nonverbal communication and two of these themes:
The paper is worth 7.5 points, which is 7.5% of your overall grade.
Before you begin writing the paper, be sure to:
1) Watch the video on culture titled “Culture in Action.”
2) Read chapters 3 and 4 in Bevan (2020) and pay close attention to how culture shapes
verbal and nonverbal communication.
3) Identify two ADDITIONAL points about culture and communication that you will cover in
your paper. You will need to both LIST and EXPLAIN two of the following themes:
• High-context versus low-context
• Dominant and co-cultures
• Individualism and collectivism
• Perceptual filters
4) Explain how paying attention to culture can help a person improve as a communicator, utilizing
Bevan and, if you choose, one of the supplemental videos you watched
While reading and watching the videos:
1) Take notes. When you identify the themes that you will cover, remember that you are
required to cover verbal and nonverbal communication and then two of the following
themes –gender, high versus low context cultures, dominant cultures versus co-cultures,
individualism and collectivism, and perceptual filter.
2) Make connections between what you read in Bevan and if you chose to watch a video,
one of the themes covered in a video. You will need to “engage” with the reading
and/or video. If you do not quite understand what it means to “engage” with course
material and cite sources, please review the document titled “Engaging with Course
Content,” which can be found in the “resources” section of the paper assignment.
3) Bevan (2020) covers verbal and nonverbal communication and the five themes listed
above well. However, if you want to address race and ethnicity or social class and link
those ideas to one of the other themes such as perceptual filters, you will be required to
spend more time with one of the videos in the “resources” box.
1) Be sure to do everything that is required. You must:
a) Use and cite Bevan to support you to discuss culture. Students will not likely earn a passing
Running Head: CULTURAL INFLUENCES 1
November 25, 2019
CULTURAL INFLUENCES 2
In America, we have a very wide and diverse collection of religious cultures, beliefs, and
backgrounds. Intercultural Communication, as cited by Beven (2020) and stated by Kim(2010) is
“…the communication process in which individual participants of differing cultural and
subcultural backgrounds come into direct contact with one another” (p.3.1). In order to be
competent communicators with people with different cultural backgrounds, one must be patient,
understanding and show interest and respect for the other person’s feelings and cultural
There are a few reasons that explain why it is important to be aware of someone else’s
culture when attempting to communicate. One reason is to avoid being ostracized. According to
Beven(2020) to be ostracized is to be“…removed from a group or from society at large if you
violate the formally stated laws of the land or traditions of the areligious group”(p. 3.1). It is
never a good feeling to be avoided or looked at like an outcast. Another reason it is so important
is to clarify communication. When there is not a central understanding of what is being
communicated, interpersonal communication can be misinterpreted in the decoding process.
When this happens, it could take much longer to send a message to the receiver, than it would
with mutual understanding.
Culture has a huge impact on nonverbal communication. In the textbook Making
Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communication , Beven(2020) mentions several
instances that would be considered nonverbal communication that is influenced by culture. One
instance she discusses is how in the United States it would be considered rude to not shake
someone’s hand in a professional setting, whereas Muslim men and women tend to not engage in
physical contact of the opposite sex. In order to show respect for this cultural difference, one
would have to learn about another culture and find a greeting that did not violate either side’s
Commented [KC1]: Per APA style guidelines, indent the
first line of each paragraph 5 to 7 spaces.
Commented [KC2]: Watch spelling (it’s Bevan) and
spacing (need a space after the name Kim.
Commented [KC3]: Good point on the practical
implications of clarity. If we are clear, interactions can take
CULTURAL INFLUENCES 3
cultural norm and comfort. Beven(2020), cites ( Gibbs, 2017; Jafar, 2017) in stating that an
alternative would be to put your hand over your h
3.1 Culture and Communication
We are often unaware or not fully conscious of how culture influences our behavior and co
mmunication, but it infuses almost every aspect of our lives. Culture influences how we dre
ss, how we act, what and when we eat, what and when we celebrate, how we raise and educ
ate our children, and even how we view life and death. It affects our concepts of time, whet
her we prefer direct or indirect messages, and whether we view the world more as an indiv
idual or as a member of a group.
We are also often unaware of the extent to which culture acts as a perceptual filter on how
we view the world. A perceptual filter is the mental structure through which we organize a
nd assign meaning to new information (Jackson & Hogg, 2010). In fact, because our own cul
tural norms are so ubiquitous, we are likely not aware that even the way we think is influen
ced by our culture. Let’s think about two coworkers: John and Kiera. John’s culture values c
ertain table manners. John attends a work lunch with his new coworker Kiera, and her food
arrives before his does. Without checking with him, Kiera begins eating her food, while con
tinuing to chat, without waiting for John’s food to arrive as well. Because of his culturally de
veloped perceptual filter—
that waiting for everyone’s food to arrive before eating is expected—
John may perceive Kiera negatively as a result, and he may feel justified in doing so. He mig
ht label her as inconsiderate. His ability to get to know Kiera (and have a positive impressio
n of her) was impeded by his culture’s perceptual filter about table manners.
Perceptual filters can be changed, both individually and within cultures overall. For exampl
e, in a Trinidadian fishing village in the Caribbean, the hunting and consumption of leatherb
ack turtles—the largest of all sea turtles—
was a cultural norm. Due to a worldwide declining population of these turtles, one man stra
tegically used interpersonal communication through storytelling to change his village’s cult
ural norms (BBC Earth, 2017). He did this by shifting people’s perception of the cultural val
ue of turtles by highlighting that the turtles were good for tourism and by visiting local ele
mentary schools to teach children about the value of the turtles (BBC Earth, 2017). All of thi
s was only possible by reshaping the perceptual filter of how his neighbors thought about t
he turtles. Instead of “turtle → food,” he helped the filter change to “turtle → tourist attracti
Steve Raymer/Asia Images/Getty Images
Culture often seems instinctual because it is such an integral part of life, but its rules and no
rms are learned from birth.
Essentially, all of the messages we receive are filtered through our cultural norms. Without
reading a chapter like this one, people can remain unaware of these filters, experiencing bia
s toward, misunderstanding of, or negative perceptions of others who act differently from t
hem. Therefore, this k
Week 2 Paper Video Resources
Below are some videos that offer additional information about each theme you can cover for the week 2
paper. The videos will give you useful material you can integrate into this paper.
Verbal Communication – Language. There are two video options for this one.
1) Language and Thought:
Boroditsky, B. (2017, November). How language shapes the way we think. TEDWomen. Retrieved July
14, 2019 from
Description: This video explores the ways language shapes patterns of thinking, from assigning blame to
categorizing color. Cognitive scientist Lera Borowotski explains that thought is likely impossible without
language and it structures our sense of reality. As you watch, think about the links between language
and values, traditions, and norms.
2) Linguistic prejudice:
Lieberman, M. (2014, November 12). Sociolinguistics and dialects. The Ling Space. Retrieved August
20, 2019 from http://www.thelingspace.com/episode-11.
Description: Linguist Moti Lieberman explains the idea of dialects and contends that all are equal, from
a scientific position. However, through class, age, region, religion, or other factors, some can frame
theirs as superior or “proper,” while others are not (a type of prejudice). This is true of African American
Vernacular English specifically. As you watch, think about whether one should be strategic about how
they speak in different contexts to achieve their goals.
Riccardi, P. (2014, October 21). Cross cultural communication. TED X – Bergen. Retrieved July 14, 2019
Description: An Italian who lived in England and then moved to Norway discusses the many cultural
differences he has witnessed. As you watch, focus on the ways he addresses nonverbal cues specifically.
Tero Trainers. (2016, November 8). What is the difference between a high-context and low-context
culture. youtube.com. Retrieved September 30, 2019 from
High/Low Context Cultures
Interfacet Training. (2010, June 18). Cultural dimension: me or we. youtube.com. Retrieved
September 30, 2019 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW7aWKXB5J4
Gender: There are four video options to learn more about communication and gender.
1) Gender and Credibility
Chemaly, S. (2015, July 28). The credibility gap: How sexism shapes human knowledge. TEDx: Barcelona
Women. Retrieved March 19, 2019 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJqtUUDhaxA
Description: Professor Soraya Chemaly argues that s
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