Culture Shock

Quick Definition: The anxiety, surprise, confusion, and shock that a person may feel when he finds himself living in an social environment that is significantly different than the one he is accustomed to.

Full Definition:

Culture shock was a sociology term developed by Kalervo Oberg in 1954. It stems from the study of international students, military, diplomatic, and foreign affairs families. The initial “shock” refers to the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not given the new social norms, order, and influences of power.

In studies of Third Culture Kids, it was found that some students adapt very well to the new environment after the initial shock. They overcome the barriers and become even better at making friends. Others can develop a dislike for, or even disgust with, certain aspects of the new or different culture.

In PUA land, culture shock can refer to stepping out of your comfort zone in any significantly new social group or venue. For example, the first time an artist goes to a goth party, he may feel out of place by some of the attire and new behaviors of the punk rock kids. Similarly, a PUA may find himself figuring out what his reactions are at a hippie party, where everyone is smoking weed. Micro-culture shocks can also occur in cities such as San Francisco, where gay men will hit on other artists if they are dressed fashionably. Realizing the existence of cultural shock is important because the PUA is someone who wants to master connecting and influencing with multiple social circles.


I was in complete culture shock when I arrived in the beach in Rio and everyone was naked!

Related Terms: Social Cues, Social Norms, Social Hierarchy, Social Pressure, Social Circle, Social Tree

Related Links: Culture Shock on Wikipedia

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