The Psychology of Value – Culture

Carrying on from yesterday’s post, I noted how this concept of value stems from our childhoods. How we internally form an attachment to particular items we deem as ‘ours’  from a young age.

Yet when comparing this globally, there are certain cultures where regardless of age, this trend does not appear. For example in a study conducted by scientists at Yale University , researchers ran a study on the Hadza people of Northern Tanzania to determine whether the Endowment effect took place within the community or not. When conducted it was found that of the Hadza people who lived closer to the towns or villages which exhibited markets and were therefore exposed to a society where money was exchanged for goods, 25% of them were willing to trade their original gifted item for a new one i.e. trade the lighter they were given for a biscuit or vice versa.

Comparing this to the Hadza people that lived further away from the villages and towns, in a more isolated community, a greater proportion – 53% in the group were more willing to trade. So why is this so? The people in the more ‘isolated’ environment, the hunter-gatherer population, they lived in an egalitarian society and so the movement of goods is much more open and shared more evenly between group members.

Looking at this one example, it can be said that emphasis on the society we grow up in, the environment we grow up in are key factors to how we value the things in our lives.

In relation to this, if we return to the initial point of ‘monetary’ value, socio-economic factors can be linked to certain types of culture, for example gang culture. With this I ask the question:
What does the word ‘value’ mean in an impoverished community?

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