Deception Differences across Cultures
Culture is a term that is used to depict the state of oneness or a state where individuals who share certain aspects are bound by it. An example of a culture is where a certain people share a set of values, goals and practices such that they are always associated with the shared item. Similarly, culture can be used to refer an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior which is determined by the symbolic thought of the end result. Over the years a number of cultures have been developed in line with the diverse goals of various people. Consequently, the various cultures have various deception mechanisms which are unique to them such that a truth in one culture is an outright lie in the other culture.
The concept of culture was initially coined to describe a cultivated approach to an idea such that when a trait was nurtured or cultivated for quite a period, it gradually transformed into a culture. The term was formulated in the 18th century when farming had just began where it was used to describe improvement of the cultivation process in words such as “agriculture” and “horticulture”. Similarly, even in the present day, all activities which engage cultivation have the suffix –culture although other areas of life have been incorporated into the –culture. In the 19th century the refinement of individuals such as areas where individuals strived to enhance their livelihood or better their social standing through education was similarly refereed to as culture. Sociologists in the mid 19th century also formulated new meanings for the term culture as the universal human capacity as life processes where external forms cultivate the agency which called culture (Storey, 2006).
The 20th century component of culture was initiated by American anthropology as it was the ventral unifying concept which was used to demonstrate the universal human capacity in the symbolic classification and encoding of experiences. The American anthropology which was fundamental in the defining moments of culture had four fields namely: linguistics, archeology, biological anthropology and cultural anthropology (Samovar, Porter and McDaniel, 2009).
In biological anthropology, the evolution of culture is widely discussed as the culture among human beings and culture among the non-human primates such as apes. The aspect of seeking to understand the evolution of culture among the non-human primates is a vital component of the study as the human species is believed to have descended from primates hence they encompass the most immediate ancestors. The exclusion of non-human beings in the study of culture was triggered by the fact that though culture is usually equated to learned behavior, there are other aspects of culture which are not bound by this notion, as well as, the fact that other non-human primates have also demonstrated learnt behavior. The argument was used by Robert Yerkes and Jane Goodall who proposed that sine chimpanzees have exhibited learnt behavior previously, they too have a culture which could be closely linked to the human culture (Hardy and Held, 2008).
When studying the culture of primates, there are a number of pointers which have been put forward for scientists to assist them in identifying the exact cultural evolution such as the invention of a new pattern or modification of the existing one to increase efficiency in the task. The new patterns are always consistent and copied by other in the same category such that the trait becomes universal. The other significant aspect of the traits is that once acquired, the owner continues to perform it while retaining the original trend or else it can be modified to increase its efficiency among the performers. Consequently, traits acquired by cultures are known to endure for long across several generations such that the inherent ability to pass the acquired trait is present in elevated levels (Berg, 2004).
After analyzing the pointers in primate acquired traits the anthropologists came up with a new definition for culture as a group-specific behavior which is acquired from experiences in social influences. This group though a species made up of primates makes it evident that culture originates from within the species though it is not rare to find various species performing the same patterned behavior hence developing into a cross-culture behavior. Similarly, from the study by Charles Voegelin, if culture was restricted to all learnt behavior and no other aspect of living things, then animals have culture as most of the behavioral patterns they exhibit are learnt from within or outside their culture (Hardy, 2008). The culture in primates is extended to presence of cognitive skills, creative problem solving and ability to recognize members of their own social group. The primates have been known to learn traits at a higher rate more than any other animal for example the potato washing culture of the Japanese macaque monkey which was taught to one monkey and spread to all the others. Similarly, the gestures communication among chimpanzees was learnt by observing human beings hence evidence that animals like man have culture (Haviland, Prins and Walrath, 2007).
Language and culture
Language is one trait in human beings which distinguishes them from animals. The same trait is used to show disparities among various categories of people foe example the civilized have a more elaborate language pattern which is easily understood while the uncivilized often babble as their language is unintelligible. The language culture is depicted by use of similar language by people who belong to the same culture for example the English culture is portrayed as bound by English which is the main language of communication. In the study of foreign culture, the American anthropologist Franz Boaz concluded that the scholar of the foreign culture had to get acquainted with the language being used by that people as it was a key element in the study of culture. However, the use of language to study culture is not reliable as many people communicating in the same language could be bound by diverse cultures hence the two are not dependent of each other (Weaver, 1994).
However, the lien of thinking and the patterns of speaking in a people can be used to determine the culture which is practiced by majority of those people. In the same line of thought is linguistic determinism where an individual’s ability to thing is determined by culture and language according to the theory of linguistic relativity. This resulted in a closer linkage between language and culture as people who have grown up together are more likely to speak the same language, as well as, share the same culture (Lister, Jon, Seth, Iain and Kieran 2003).
Language does not only entail the spoken or written word but also the non-verbal language such as symbolic communication which is diverse and unique among various cultures. This has led to most post-structural theories to claim that culture in itself is a form of language especially in communicating the symbolic messages. For example the distinct traditional ceremonies among the Maya and Mao which are only distinctively described through use of symbols as the spoken word would not bring out the intended meaning. Children have been known to learn or acquire language skills, in addition to, cultural values in the society they grew up in through the interaction with seniors in the same group (Samovar, 2009).
Similarly, language has various presentations in each culture such that there can be variations in the same spoken word depending on the signaling identity of the culture. For example English as a widely used language is spoken differently in the United States or in the United Kingdom. The dialect signals used by lawyers also called lawyer’s jargon are very different from the signals used in the lower class workers living in the low class neighborhoods. Hence the profession or region of occupation also determines the culture of the person especially in the nature of language signals among the population segment. Consequently, the choice of words used by speakers or individuals having conversations is also determined by the culture or social class of the parties. For instance when a lower class Englishman is refereeing to one of the top class, the title “sir” must be used in reference to the high class culture Englishman as a sign of social distance (Barzilai, 2007).
The religious culture is defined as a set of beliefs which are based on the cause, nature and purpose of life together with the universe. The religious culture has its fundamentals on a supernatural power that is regarded as holy, sacred, divine and spiritual though the degree of such measures vary depending on the specific religion. The other common attribute across all the religious culture is use of symbols, traditions and doctrines that are aimed at giving meaning towards life. Further more the religious culture tends to seek morality, and good ethics as part of the lives of the members hence the culture requires participants to modify their lifestyles to suit that which is exhibited in the traditions. Other organized behaviors which are conducted by all members of the religion include possession of holy places, congregating for prayers, scripture readings and priests who are portrayed as representatives of the supernatural power. There are various subcultures in religion such as international faiths, indigenous religions, which are specific to the region the religious practices are present and new religious movements made up of integrated cultures (Rothstein and Reender 2003).
Religion as a culture has taken different forms such that based on the emphasis of the religion, a number of cultures can be formulated. For instance some religious cultures lay more emphasis on the practicing of the various doctrinal values while others dictate that belief should be regarded highly. Further on some religious cultural activities focus on individual activities as core religious aspects while others call for communal activities. Though modern day religious culture has embraced music, art and meditation as key components in their worship activities, there are some religions where such elements have been shunned hence diversifying the various religious cultures (Partridge, 2005).
The popular culture
This is also known as pop culture where the mass media has played a great deal into influencing the daily lives of members of the culture. In this culture, an informal consensus is often sought within the mainstream western culture to integrate a totality of the ideas, images, attitudes and perspectives of the members. The popular culture emerged in the mid 20th century and it was able to reach a global coverage by the late 20th century. Pop culture has been a trivial approach to the consensual acceptance among the mainstream media outlets such tat a lot of criticism has been directed to pop culture fro other non-mainstream cultures such as religion where it is branded as a corrupt and superficial culture (Turkle, 1997).
This 19th century term was initially used among the lower classes in BirminghamTown Hall to describe their education and culturedness. The significance of the term was that the lower class had limited access to true education hence the entire group was branded as belonging to the lowly educated culture. By the World War II the members of the pop culture had found another avenue of educating themselves on the events of the world wide over through mass consumption of media related information (Weaver, 1994).
For a very long time, the major popular culture attributes and reliance on the media has evolved into a symbiotic relationship where each mutually benefits from the activities of the other. In this respect any news from scientists and scholars has always been conveyed to the public through the mass media channels. However, at times the popular culture has at one time or another modified the facts presented by researchers such that the public loose trust in the facts being communicated as the falseness in the news becomes apparent (Turiel, 2002).
The popular culture as a source of criticism has led to development of a market driven media which has resulted in channeling popular culture related news so as to increase the sales of their products. The thirst for entertainment has eroded the goodwill of media houses such that entertainment has been known to dictate what the media will communicate for quite some time. This is evident in the replacing of international newspapers and television channels that were originally set of broadcasting foreign news setting apart more space for entertainment news. This has been closely linked to the celebrity culture where various media houses have turned to celebrity news and horrid gossip stories to increase ratings of various programs. This has been done at the expense of high quality lifestyle programs (Gerson, 2009).
Popular culture has been blamed as the cause of increased stories regarding death, sex and drugs as these have been part of the media communication to the public. Consequently, the public are alienated from their own experiences such that their morals are no longer part of their life and reality becomes an isolated case (Storey, 2006).
This is a modern culture which is present in the United Kingdom and the United States only. Trash culture is a common name for the by-products of modernism coupled with injustice and barbarism. The term was coined by Richard Simon as a response to modern culture connotation of the downfall in society’s morals and standards. The culture is associated with a wide variety of modern day items such as fast-foods, popular music, movies, mass media and comic books. Just like the popular culture, the trash culture relies on the mass media for all its major activities. However, although the popular culture provides plenty of entertainment to the consumers and members, the trash culture’s art, music and movies have been depicted as having little or no educational lessons or artistic values (Turkle, 1997).
However, most of the products from this culture have been praised for their role in airing rather controversial issues which were earlier on considered taboo although their presence was felt deep in the society. Such issues include homosexuality and teenage abortions which were previously rampant and hushed in society. The trash culture has also been applauded for taking the risky steps into pushing topics which are projected to be discussed in future thus reducing the anxiety of the public (Keller, 1999).
The trash culture is composed of lower classes as it was originally established to react against the status quo presented by the upper class. Certain characteristics of the trash culture are common among the low class such as racism, organized crime, irresponsible behavior, violence and smoking (Turiel, 2002).
This is the newest culture in the world that has not yet fully emerged courtesy to the availability of computer networks across the globe. Although the core reason as to why people access the internet is to make it easier to transact business, communicate and derive entertainment, there are a number of individuals who established diverse social groups online. The internet network facilities are often incorporated into the social societies by cyber culture members to create room for online communities to establish, easy access to online games and exchange of emails (Storey, 2006).
Cyber culture is a virtual community of individuals who are connected via the internet. Being virtual culture participants of the cyber culture may never get a chance to meet at any given point as their common interest which binds them allows them to convey their messages and ideas via the internet. The other focal aspect of cyber culture is that the community is held together by the internet enabled computer failure to which the culture would not have been established. The cyber culture is also attributed to individuals who share the same interest in the electronic world hence the geographical locality of the members does not determine the nature of similarities (Rheingold, 1993).
Advanced information science and technology have been pivotal in the realization of the cyber culture. There are a number of human interactions which include a larger manifestation of the cyber culture in the computer networks. There is specialized software which is used to support the programs used in cyber culture communication while others are accepted by any web protocol which could be in use. Examples of interactions are chat, games, social, peer to peer, blogs and virtual worlds. These services are not restricted to communication as some have spouse searching services while others provide information based on various questions posed by the user (Samovar, 2009).
Cyber culture has various traits which are used to identify with the group. Examples are the fact that cyberspace is the binding term or world where the cyber culture members meet to share their interests. Cyberspace is rather flexible such that it can be molded to meet customized needs of the cyber culture. The flexibility is also malleable such that external forces for example the social norms can carry out adjustments on the cyberspace to meet the laws of the physical world (Rheingold, 1993).
The other trait is that despite the number of divergent activities which are carried out by the cyber culture members when they are online, the exchange of knowledge and information is the key element in cyber culture. The cyber culture enrolls a high degree of skills such that the member’s efficiency in the utilization of the internet services of cyberspace is dependent on ones manipulative ability. Cyber culture demonstrates a higher rate of efficiency in problem solving as there are more people who are able to access the victim at once hence prompt advice is extended despite the distance in locality. Cyber culture is the most fragile culture of all cultures in the world due to the loose connection between members especially when members fall out. It is equally difficult to trace the identity of the members hence the attachment could have been broken forever. Cyber culture has been known to exist in a form of utopian world where virtually all members of the cyber culture have names and faces though physically the faces or names cannot be traced to such members (Rheingold, 1993).
Similarly, there are a number of deceptive features and lying differences in all the cultures identified above. Consequently, the essence of deception varies among the cultures as the role of the lie in one culture could be interpreted differently in the other culture (Samovar, 2009).
Deception or deceit refers to actions which are used to produce truces and beliefs that are not true. Actions or aspects of propagating half-truths are also part of deception whether applicable to an individual or the entire culture. Various cultures have developed a number of deception strategies such as propaganda and sleight of hand to make certain concepts appear truthful while in real sense they are false. Concealing, camouflage and distraction are also acts of deception though different from outright lying where the speaker does not try to cover up the lie but presents it as it is (Smith, 2007).
Deception is a vice in many cultures which abhor lying though the other strategies of deception can pass by unnoticed but the consequences of lying can lead to dire transgressions such as intense feelings of betrayal and lack of trust amongst the parties. As a tradition most people and animals rarely except to be deceived by their friends, relatives and strangers encountered in their daily lives. Therefore, when one is deceived they feel bad about themselves as well as towards the liar as deceiving is a violation of relational rules (PressBröder, 1998).
The origin of lying can be traced back to the Genesis story in the bible where God created the very first man on earth, Adam, and brought him a wife, Eve. Then one day when Eve was walking around the Garden of Eden she encountered a serpent who surprisingly could speak and it used conspiratory words to make Eve believe in its message of eating the forbidden fruit. The deception was so forthright that Eve could neither see the trap nor seek her husband’s opinion regarding the matter. That could have been the very first cross-cultural deception where a woman was deceived by an animal (Ortmann. and Hertwig, 1998).
Lies are usually developed to serve various purposes such as in boosting the previous relationship which could have been severed by lack of trust. For instance deception can be used to avoid hurting another person especially marriage partners so as their self-esteem is not damaged. These partner-motivated deceptive acts are accepted across various cultures as they are seen as polite and beneficial to both parties. The self-focused lies are aimed at protecting ones reputation and image to avoid embarrassment and criticism. The relationship-focused deceptions are aimed at reducing harm among members who are relating through avoiding conflicts as a result of complicated issues (Kimmel, 1998).
Types of deception
There are various categories of deception depending on the intended strategy used to lie. For instance when deceiving individuals through communication, the speaker can choose to distort the truth or completely omit the truth in the statement thus the original message will not be conveyed to the recipients. Similarly, in deception, the sender of the message has tm intentionally modify the original message such that the receiver will not believe it to be false such that the sender will not be forced to avail evidence supporting the truthfulness of the message (Weaver, 1994).
Consequently, other than concealing the truth by engaging in behaviors which will assist in hiding the true version of the information, the liar can opt to make up another set of information that is very different from what was originally presented. There are also other liars who are able to make indirect statements which contradict with the original message or concepts. Exaggerations are also common where a statement is stretched or expounding the degree of truth to make the message appear more real while it could be a pack of lies. On the other hand, the original message could be understated where facts or words which are degrading are used to describe the entire situation (PressBröder, 1998).
Although it is extremely difficult to hide a lie for quite a long period of time as most probably this will be followed by a chain of similar lies, it may be an uphill task to detect a lie. The other reason as to why lying can go unnoticed is because there are no known reliable indicators of deception hence unless the deceiving party stumbles and leaks some of the deceptive material; the victim may never get to know the truth. However, in order to attain this level of lying, the deceiver has to keep a clear record of all past lies so as to avoid any occurrences of verbal or non-verbal outburst which may expose the lie (Turiel, 2002).
According to the interpersonal deception theory, there is a mutual relationship between a liar and the receiver of the deceived message such that while the liar is working towards distorting the information, the receiver is concurrently working towards revealing the degree of reliability of the delivered message. This creates a link of interrelatedness between the actions of the receiver and those of the sender. In the course of trying to deliver the message the sender may reveal a number of verbal and non-verbal cues which can be collectively linked to detect the deception in the delivered message. However, the cues which are portrayed by the speaker may not be effective in gauging the amount of deceit in the message and as was noted by a deception scholar Aldert Vrij, there are no non-verbal cues which can be comfortably used as detection fundamentals of deception. Consequently, some detection can be attained through combination of more than two non-verbal behaviors while the sender is delivering the message (Ortmann, 1998).
Deception in various cultures
Camouflage is a widely used element of deceit in various cultures where the visual or motile aspect of the individual is interfered with to convey a different message. For instance in the animal kingdom, some animals have skin colors which bear a close resemblance to their surroundings to make them less visible to the predator or prey. This is the same concept which is applied by the military such that the combat fatigues bear a resemblance with the bushes or terrains hence they are invisible and can easily ambush the enemy. Although the intent of the camouflage is similar, the consistency of the act is not valid as animals will always be in possession of their skin color while at times the military will have to do away with their fatigues thus the enemy can point the deception in time. A disguise is an appearance to create the impression of being somebody or something else; for a well-known person this is also called incognito (Smith, 2007).
Disguise is the other deceptive mechanism which is applicable to a number of cultures where an individual conceals their identity in the identity of another person to avoid any chances of the receiver tracing the source of information. Similarly, the other aspect of disguise entails a group of individuals taking up an alias name so as to transact certain illegal or legal deals without their identity being known (Lister, 2003).
In cyber culture, the element of identity is concealed or disguised such that most members of the cyber culture rarely give out their real identity when applying for membership. The disguise is not only restricted to names and personal details as some sites especially the social networking sites which are extensively used among the cyber culture members have options for photographs. Therefore, the owner of the address can opt for their own photograph which is rare or else they take up someone else’s photograph. Such deception has also been used in the cyber culture where members seek partners from the social dating scenes. Stories of cyber culture members being deceived into believing that they have found a handsome young man whose photograph depicts all the desired physical attributes being confronted by criminals are very common. A common trend is seen where potential partners of the cyber culture portray their profile as a young, physically fit individual who frequent the gymnasium but the real owner of the address could be an overweight seventy year old man. Such deception is only realized after the victim has agreed to comply with the rules of the game such as accepting the individual as a boyfriend (PressBröder, 1998).
This form of deception has been applied by criminals who are part of the cyber culture to hack bank accounts after posing as bank marketers such that the real owner of the account is made to believe that they are supplying the passwords to their banker only to end up with empty accounts. Cyber culture has also employed cyber fake services which are often disguised as consultancy services. In most instances the user on the other end is promised prompt problem solving services such that their interest in the sender is raised. However, in the course of the consultancy the client could be made to present a payment before completion of the session and when they do so, a reply is sent for more time allocation as the “consultancy” could be experiencing problems. This is the point at which the “client” realizes they have been duped (Cohen, 2006).
Distraction as a form of deception is common in the trash culture where members will carry out subsequent fast food advertisements while in the background they incorporate a physically endowed athlete. The essence of the physically fit athlete is act as a distraction from the fast food’s negative impact on ones health, as well as, cover up for the numerous campaigns against fats foods. Similarly, the public will be lead into purchasing and consumption of more fast foods hence promoting the sales of the producer while at the same time increasing their chances of suffering from obesity. The negative effects are hence concealed by the well formed physique of the athlete (Turkle, 1997).
Pious fraud or fabrication has been used for quite a long time in the religious culture to portray the aspect of miracles as was presented in the ancient times when Jesus Christ and the prophets performed miracles under the jurisdiction of a supernatural power. Religious leaders who lack the gift or talent of healing and prophesying respectively have been known to fabricate the entire religious activities such that members of the religious sect can increase their faith in the religion (Partridge, 2005).
Cases of some religious leaders hiring unscrupulous members who act as if they are physically unwell prior to a major healing gospel crusade are quite common. These actors often mingle with the locals of the proposed locality of the event and even go ahead to pose as beggars on the streets. After the public has conversant with the “physical condition” of the actors, they proceed to the podium on the real day when the “healing” is taking place and they get healed in the process. The most interesting part is that during the “healing” session, only those who had been “hired” as patients are healed. This is later on followed by a session where those who were “healed” are expected to present a testimony of the impact of the religious leader’s “healing powers”. Unfortunately, only those who are part of the pastor’s crew are given an opportunity to testify their healing such that the crowd of faithful is left in awe as the pastors prowess spreads far and wide (Rothstein, 2003).
Some pastors or leaders of religions in the religious culture have been known to prophesy or predict the occurrence of common events which are most likely going to happen. They rely on random events and issues to make their faithful believe in their exceptional gifts. Such actions are exhibited by the religious leader prophesying that one member of the congregation will get a job in the next week; another member will get a marriage partner, more new members will join the religion in the next one year and a rain will fall in the course of the week. All the events which are predicted are quite normal such that among the congregation a good number will have applied for jobs and probably have been short listed after an interview. Hence chances of one of these getting the job are very high thus it will not be out of the normal to have a member of the congregation getting a job in that week. The religious leader thus makes use of general events to deceive the followers that he/she can foresee events in future (Partridge, 2005).
Plagiarism is a form of deception that is very common among the academic circles where the elite culture made up of scholars and students carry out copying and pasting of another person’s work to make it their own. Others often engage in sufficient paraphrasing such that a reader of the lecturer ends up imagining that the entire work is the student’s original work. Similarly, the lecturer is deceived by the learner to grade the paper sufficiently high with little regard on the exact source of materials used in the text. Paraphrasing is especially fundamental in concealing plagiarism as the exact words of the author or source are replaced by other synonyms such that the original idea is maintained though different wording is used (Smith, 2007).
The popular culture also has its diverse array of deceptive acts such as glorifying sex and glamour while the celebrities who pose as models in such advertisements lead less glamorous lives. The same deceptive strategy is used in the way through which Hollywood is portrayed in glossy magazines as a place where life is stress free and full oh holidays. However, the real lives of the models is composed of endless struggles with drugs, crimes and other psychological problems due to the over demanding life in Hollywood. The models have to check what they eat to avoid loosing their slender shapes or else they loose their contracts and they have to dress the part always to please the public. The glamour is often exaggerated so much that most aspiring actors and wannabe celebrities are often left seeking for more details to gauge their ability to fit in such a lifestyle. Therefore, the Hollywood which is splashed on newspapers and televisions is nothing much as glamorous but for the public to continue purchasing the movies, as well as, adoring the celebrities, the lie has to be presented to all (Turkle, 1997).
In conclusion, deception can be demonstrated as an art which has found its place among all sorts of cultures. This is exhibited by the diversity of cultures with each having its own criteria of presenting deception and the roles of deception being varied depending on the culture. Similarly, various forms of deceptions are applicable in various cultures ranging from disguise to exaggeration where the publics needs are incorporated into the lie to make it more appealing. Deception has no boundaries as to who should participate while it is not predicted to cease any time soon as more modern deceptive strategies are cropping up.
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