Cultural Traits: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 What Are Cultural Traits?
  • 0:41 Cultural Traits and Tradition
  • 1:43 Examples of Cultural Traits
  • 2:04 Adaptations
  • 2:28 Differences
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

What is a cultural trait? What does a cultural trait have to do with tradition? Are cultural traits static or ever-changing? This lesson answers these questions and provides numerous examples of cultural traits.

What Are Cultural Traits?

Think back to the last time you had a large gathering of people dining together. Perhaps it was to celebrate a wedding, graduation, or something similarly important. It's probable that someone at the table or dinner ceremony got up, said a few words, and everyone said ''Cheers!'' before they lightly touched their glasses with the others.

That is one example of a cultural trait, a characteristic of human action that is acquired by people socially and transmitted to one another via various modes of communication. The term 'cultural trait' can also be applied to an object created from human behavior.

Cultural Traits and Tradition

Of course, that's just a simple definition of cultural traits. The concept of cultural traits involves a whole lot more.

Cultural traits are things that allow one part of a culture to be transmitted to another. For example, the famous football chant of ''Ole, Ole, Ole'' likely arose in Spain but has since become a cultural trait of many soccer fans around the world. The famous Greek exclamation of ''Opa!'' has since become just as common in Russia as it is in Greece.

Cultural traits also allow people to create traditions. Traditions are long-lasting, identifiable, recurrent ways of doing things. Just think back to the introductory example of many people saying a toast at a wedding. It's become a tradition in the U.S.

What's interesting about cultural traits is that they are not necessarily static. Cultural traits can combine with each other. They can also be improperly transmitted to another culture or generation. These two scenarios provide a way by which new cultural traits can be created.

Examples of Cultural Traits

There are a lot of different examples of cultural traits from around the world. This lesson can only give you a small glimpse of them. What you'll note, however, is how many of these cultural traits have spread to other cultures. This is normal. Just think back to our definition of cultural traits. They are characteristics of human action that are transmissible.

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