MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences : Culture Lag

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Example Questions

Example Question #2 : Culture

Which of the following represents a key source of social conflict as a result of culture lag?

Possible Answers:

Different cultures develop at different paces, with faster development resulting in greater prestige

As culture changes from one generation to the next, the cultural relevance of older individuals begins to lag behind modern cultural norms

The development of items in material culture frequently lags behind the needs demonstrated by the norms of non-material culture

Rapid advancement in material culture contradicts the inherent resistance to change in non-material culture

All of these are examples of culture lag that readily result in social conflict

Correct answer:

Rapid advancement in material culture contradicts the inherent resistance to change in non-material culture

Explanation:

"Culture lag" is a term specifically addressing technological advancement and detailing the inherent delay between the innovation of new technology and its acceptance and integration into cultural norms. During a period of culture lag, a new element of material culture is presented and the non-material culture (often resistant to change) must take time to adapt.

Example Question #3 : Culture

Excerpt from "The Chicago Employment Agency and the Immigrant Worker," Grace Abbott, American Journal of Sociology 1908 14:3289-305 

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, immigrants poured into the United States without knowledge of English or American customs. They were also usually unaware of the local cost of living or typical wage. These immigrants turned to employment agencies that would help them find work, for a fee. The extreme dependence of immigrants on the employment agencies coupled with their general ignorance of the American system brought about an ethical dilemma for the employment agent in which it became very easy to take advantage of people seeking a job. This resulted in an extreme prejudice directed at immigrants by the American employment system. A study was conducted in the early 1900s gauged the degree of corruption among employment agents and the results of this study have been provided (see Tables 1, 2, and 3)

Table 1

Table1

Table 2

Table2

Table 3

 Table3

An immigrant who becomes overwhelmed by the fast-paced American lifestyle would be experiencing which of the following? 

Possible Answers:

Culture shock

Cultural lag

All of these

Counterculture

Correct answer:

Culture shock

Explanation:

Culture shock describes negative feelings that a person has when adjusting to a new culture. In contrast, cultural lag refers to the notion that a society takes time to adjust to technological or social changes. This scenario gives no indication of societies changing, only the effect of a new culture on one immigrant. A counterculture describes a rebellious or contradictory way of thinking or acting. 

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