Closing Remarks

The ethnographic evidence presents three theories, or perspectives, on emotions within the social realm. However, Lutz is the only to present emotions as a dynamic process humans enter into rather than something that naturally occurs within them or outside of them. She positions emotions as cultural models that guide behavior and interpretations for social relationships, events, and other encounters. Emotions can and will be negotiated, disregarded, or completely adopted, which depends upon personal choices. Nevertheless, culture plays a major role in limiting our personal choices. Although Scheper-Hughes defines emotions as concepts attached to social structure and standing, she also identifies the processes that maintain hierarchies and individual point of views which is closer to their ‘home’ culture rather than a foreign one. Nevertheless, the link between personality and culture is not the current debate despite it’s relevant application to the overarching argument.

The ethnographic evidence presents three theories, or Western perspectives, on emotions that considers their place in the social realm. The writer advocates that each emotion theory captures a snap-shot that is glued to the context in which it is identified. Nevertheless, if one theory is to move closer to being a champion over the others, the writer chooses Lutz. Her work demonstrates that emotions are dynamic, and their expressions are not to be taken for granted. More importantly, Lutz defines the emotions she encounters and experiences within the cultural framework they belong. She describes the historical and connotative layers attached to both the Western and non-Western Ifaluk local theories. However, all readers should dully note that the evidence from Rosaldo and Scheper-Hughes was limited, whereas Catherine Lutz’s work was in greater abundance. Lutz captures emotions in various social contexts, which supports the Looping Effect; thus, emotions are dynamic processes. People ascribe meaning and significance to them, which can be personally or socially constructed. Emotions can also be private and a product of our social positions. Nevertheless, they are in a constant and continuous cycle with each experience and interaction people encounter. Emotions work on many levels, and recent research also shows that emotions occur in various portions of the brain.

Current social cognition research supports the dynamic process culture undertakes, and titles it the ‘Looping Effect.’ The research stems from studies on mirror neurons, which may represent a fraction of the total culture process. Nevertheless, we are moving forward when we say this process is cyclical. The individual within the collective houses cultural models, or schema, that direct behavior, guide thoughts, and order meaning. These categories and arrangements stem from the social world in which people live. We are only beginning to break the ice however. It is now plausible to say that culture does not form cognition, nor is culture completely subject to cognition. Rather, the two appear to exist in a reciprocal relationship. The Looping Effect provides a wonderful example and definition for culture that can appeal to all curious minds. The grieving practices in the different cultural communities provided a commonality from which we could view culture as an important force in human life. Emotions proved to be an interesting and complex subject within themselves. Nevertheless, they helped to establish firm evidence for culture in regards to examples and a better working definition that can appeal to more people. This project aims to raise the culture’s important position in studying human cognition. We are individuals, but we are also individuals in the collective. Therefore, we should focus some attention to humanity’s greatest wonder – that thing that exists in both the individual and society, which builds skyscrapers, writes poetry, and solves math equations.

References||The third chimp and his baggage: emotions, culture, and cognition||Extra Thoughts on Culture & Humans