AP Human Geography : Culture Traits

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Culture Traits

A "syncretic" cultural tradition is one that __________.

Possible Answers:

changes very slowly and gradually over time.

has remained unchanged for several generations

changes dramatically over a short period of time

is highly resistant to external influences

incorporates cultural traits from a variety of external influences

Correct answer:

incorporates cultural traits from a variety of external influences

Explanation:

Cultural traditions are cohesive collections of ideas and customs that are unique or specific to certain regions. They can often be “syncretic” which means that they freely incorporate and mix cultural traits from a variety of sources. It is easy to remember this if you think of “syncretic” as being like “synthesize” which means to mix things into a cohesive whole unit.

Example Question #2 : Culture Traits

The Caste System is most closely associated with __________.

Possible Answers:

India and Buddhism

China and Christianity

India and Hinduism

China and Buddhism

China and Hinduism

Correct answer:

India and Hinduism

Explanation:

The Caste System is an important aspect of Hindu and Indian culture, although its impact has faded slightly in the past half-century. Historians disagree as to how embedded in Indian society the Caste System was before the arrival of the Mughals and the British, but what is not debated is the impact that the Caste System has had on the lives of common Indian people. The Caste System states that all Indians are born into a “caste” or social grouping, such as “priest,” “warrior,” or “untouchable.” The “caste” an Indian is born into can determine what jobs he can get, what social groups he can move in, where he can live, and how he is treated by others.

Example Question #3 : Culture Traits

Which of these countries have highly variable rates of literacy in different regions of the country?

Possible Answers:

Japan

Brazil

The United Kingdom

Portugal

China

Correct answer:

Brazil

Explanation:

Sometimes national literacy rates can be very deceiving when trying to study the literacy of individual countries. In some countries the experience of the people living in one part of the country could not be more culturally distinct from the experience of the people living in another part. Brazil is one such country. In the south, where Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo are located the literacy rates are fairly close to ninety six percent; however, in the northeast, the poorest region of the country, literacy rates are closer to eighty percent. China has much less variable rates of literacy, but is nonetheless significantly variable by region. In developing countries with a large population that is spread over a large geographic area large variations in literacy are extremely common.

Example Question #4 : Culture Traits

How did environmental determinism affect the support or opposition to European colonialism?

Possible Answers:

It suggests that European culture was inferior to the culture of much of the rest of the world because it was detached from nature and environmental concerns and focused on industrialization to the overall detriment of humanity.

It suggests that people in hot or challenging climates are less industrious and possess inferior cultural traditions; providing support for European racist colonialism.

None of these answers are correct; the idea of environmental determinism did not emerge until after the end of the era of European colonialism.

It suggests that social traditions are largely unaffected by environmental conditions and that no society has the right to claim cultural superiority; providing opposition to European racist colonialism.

It suggests that American culture is superior to European culture; providing support for the replacement of European cultural hegemony with American cultural hegemony.

Correct answer:

It suggests that people in hot or challenging climates are less industrious and possess inferior cultural traditions; providing support for European racist colonialism.

Explanation:

“Environmental determinism” is a theory of cultural geography that states that cultural traditions, and the differences between various cultures, are informed by environmental concerns. This had racial connotations during the age of European colonialism. It suggests that people in hotter and more challenging climates (most of the world, compared to Europe) possess cultures that are inherently different, and inferior, than European culture. This was used as an academic support for European colonialism.

Example Question #5 : Culture Traits

When a cultural geographer describes a cultural tradition as dynamic they most nearly mean that it is __________.

Possible Answers:

highly resistant to external sources and influences

a blend of cultural traits from several different sources

likely to change in the future

subject to change over time

unlikely to change in the future

Correct answer:

subject to change over time

Explanation:

Cultural traditions are a unified collection of ideas and customs that are unique or specific to certain societies or regions of the world. They are often called “syncretic” which means a mix of cultural traits from a variety of sources, or “dynamic” which means subject to change over time. You could say that a “dynamic” tradition is likely to change in the future but this is not as close to the correct meaning as the other answer choice.

Example Question #6 : Culture Traits

In the Caste System how can an Indian move up to a better caste?

Possible Answers:

By making money and giving as much of it as possible to the temple

By living virtuously and attaining good karma

Through obedience to the state and industrious living

By converting others to the Hindu faith

Through prayer and self-sacrifice

Correct answer:

By living virtuously and attaining good karma

Explanation:

The Caste System is a part of Indian and Hindu culture that affixes an individual within a certain social group, from birth. The group an individual is a part of can affect anything from the type of work he can get, where he can live, whom he can marry, and how other people treat him. A Hindu can move up the Caste System by living virtuously and attaining good karma. After several lifetimes of good karma a Hindu can achieve eternal salvation and emerge from the cycle of life.

Example Question #7 : Culture Traits

Which concept refers to a method aimed to improve the genetic quality of human populations through selective breeding and sterilization?

Possible Answers:

Variation

Eugenics

Embroyonics

Abstinence

Genetics

Correct answer:

Eugenics

Explanation:

"Eugenics" is a set of beliefs and practices aimed to improve the genetic quality of human populations through selective breeding and sterilization. "Genetics" refers simply to inherited traits or characteristics or the study of such traits. "Abstinence" refers to the practice of foregoing sexual intercourse

Example Question #8 : Culture Traits

Which of the following best describes the theory of environmental determinism?

Possible Answers:

The physical environment plays a decisive role in regional economic development

Regional sociocultural development will affect local environmental conditions

The physical environment plays a decisive role in social and cultural development

A region's culture can be affected by environmental conditions

Correct answer:

The physical environment plays a decisive role in social and cultural development

Explanation:

Environmental determinism is the theory that the environment determines, plays a decisive role, or causes social and cultural development. "A region's culture can be affected" is not as strong a characterization as a theory of determinism requires, and is in fact the theory of environmental possibilism. "Regional sociocultural development will affect local environmental conditions" gets the theory backwards, suggesting that culture determines the environment, while environmental determinism is a theory of cultural development, not economic development.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: