Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Independence and interdependence - urban and rural America

200 Years of Books Prove That City-Living Changes Our Psychology

UCLA researcher Patricia Greenfield has long suspected that the environment around us influences our psychology – not in the classic sense that our family life or peer groups sway our behavior, but in a much broader way. Human psychology adapts differently, she theorized, to rural settings than to urban ones.

Rural living, with its subsistence economies, simpler technologies, and close-knit communities, demands of people a greater sense of deference to authority and duty to each other. Urbanization, on the other hand, generally comes with greater wealth and education, and complex technology and commerce. Adapt to life in a city, and a different set of values becomes more important: for starters, personal choice, property accumulation, and materialism.

"When you have greater wealth, you have more choices," Greenfield says. When you live in a city, there are simply more paths to chose, more things to do, more ways you might spend your money. Greater education brings choice, too. In this way, personal choice – and an emphasis on the individual – becomes more central in an urban world to our values, our behavior, and our culture.

This implies that as a society slowly urbanizes over time, its psychology and culture change, too. But Greenfield hasn't been able to prove that until now. In her latest research, published in the journal Psychological Science, she leverages an enormous quantifiable dataset on American culture over the last two centuries that never existed before: the Google Books Ngram Viewer........"

for the rest of this article go here:

If these research findings are so - then what are appropriate responses?

Since psychology is a cause-and-effect tendency, knowing these tendencies, what is skillful and appropriate individually, in the groups we are part of and on a broader social and political level?