What are five facts about culture? How does culture shape a person and influence their lifestyle?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nearly every decision that a person makes during the course of their day is shaped by culture. These decision include what clothes you will put on in the morning, what routines you have for personal hygiene, how you interact with other people inside and outside of the family, and what types of jobs you will pursue.

Social scientists point to seven distinct elements of culture:  government system, economic system, arts, religion, language, social organization, and customs and traditions.  While there may be small variations within a culture of any number of these elements, the combination of those seven elements defines how a culture behaves. The lifestyle of a person within a culture is motivated by these seven elements.  Culture is the sum of all beliefs, customs, and attitudes that a group of people share.  

Humans are not born with traits of culture, but are indoctrinated about the seven elements at a young age.  As an example, an American would not realize that they should not stand too close to a person when talking to them unless it was taught to them from a very young age.  Ideas of religion, cultural mores, and etiquette are taught to the youth of the culture through parenting, formal education, and the simple daily interactions children have with other members of their culture.  

Cultures also have a certain fluidity to them.  They may evolve over time. This evolution takes place through cultural diffusion (contact with other cultures), technology, or social and economic changes.