The IB Guide (2017) explains that enculturation “is the process by which people learn the necessary and appropriate skills and norms in the context of their culture”.

Cultures are maintained over time (i.e. they are relatively stable) due to the process of cultural transmission, meaning the culture is passed on from generation to the next. This is one way in which enculturation happens, e.g. when parents pass socio-cultural knowledge to their offspring.

This can happen via Social Learning (Think: Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory).Bandura talks about reciprocal determinism which is a concept which recognises that while social situations (cultures) shape the individuals who find themselves within those cultures, the social situation is also shaped by the individuals themselves.

Find out more about Kurt Lewin’s Gatekeeper Theory to help you to elaborate your understanding of how individuals affect the evolution of a culture and which ideas stick, which are forgotten and which are never allowed to see the light of day, meaning we are not exposed to them and thus never even have a chance to be influenced by them!

There is a great TOK exercise on p.205 of your OUP textbook (Popov, et al. 2017).

starsStretch yourself!

Find out what is meant by: memetics (Dawkins 2006) and in particular the ‘God Meme’. What survival value does the god meme have, why is it good for humans to ‘believe’.

Defining enculturation

defining enculturation: using the WH words to extend a definition.

Powerpoint: enculturation and odden and rochat

Studies linked to enculturation

Odden and Rochat (2004) – see below – main SAQ study

Culture of Honour:  Cohen et al. (1996) p. 206-7 in OUP textbook (Popov et al 2017): http://cognitionandculture.net/wp-content/uploads/InsultAggressionAndTheSouthernCulture.pdf

Levine’s study of helping in different nations: Levine et al helping

also Levine on pace of life in 31 countries: levine1999

What is simpatia? Find out here: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1985-11908-001

Link to Latino values and clinical psychology:


Click to access a118958.pdf

Odden and Rochat (2004) : odden and rochat

Wordmint crossword: Once you have read the study, complete the crossword Enculturation_Odden_and_Rochat_2004

Storyboard template: odden and rochat (2004) storyboard For this task make sure your story board cover the APFC of the study. Fill all boxes on this sheet (you can go over onto a second sheet as well, if you need to) and make sure you include pictures that relate to household chores, fishing and the chief system. The more detail you include in your pictures/captions, the better your mark. Read the article thoroughly to pick out interesting details.

Odden and Rochat Model Answer: SAQ enculturation Create a commentary for this SAQ answer explaining why you think it should get 9/9, use the mark-bands and the top tips for SAQs to guide you.

Study 2: Greenfield (1970, 1991): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWLIy-Um7_0

greenfield1999 greenfield1977_2 greenfield 2006

Google book with relevant pages 

Enculturation in Mexico– Greenfield PowerPoint

enculturation-booklet (5)

Practice Questions

SAQs from 2019

  • Describe enculturation with reference to one research study. (9)
  • Outline one research study into enculturation. (9)
  • Explain how enculturation occurs with social and/or cultural groups (9) (this question can only be asked from 2020 as after the first set of exams, SAQs may also contain any of these four terms: assimilation, social groups, cultural groups, norms.)


  • Discuss research into enculturation. (22)
  • Evaluate research into enculturation. (22)