Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 448-451

Cultural Transmission

  • Matthew J. TaylorAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis Email author 
  • , Candace A. ThothAffiliated withUniversity of Missouri


Acculturation; Cultural learning; Enculturation; Socialization


Cultural transmission is the process through which cultural elements, in the form of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behavioral scripts, are passed onto and taught to individuals and groups.


A Brief Definition of Culture

Culture represents a collection of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behavioral scripts that are generally agreed upon by a group of individuals. It can include everything from language, marriage practices, and governmental configurations, to definitions of family, greeting behaviors, housing structures, and death rituals, to name a few. A primary role of culture is to provide a consistent and stable environment or framework whose goal is to ensure or, at the very least, enhance, the survival of the group. At its broadest level, culture represents mainstream tendencies, but there can be “culture within a culture” whereby smaller segments of the population ...

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