How's culture represented in our heads? As discussed in an earlier video, culture is sharing knowledge about beliefs, values, and ideals. As knowledge culture is represented in our memory as a network of knowledge that contains a variety of interconnected elements. In the same way that we have in our memory our knowledge structure associated, for instance, with making a barbecue, that might include possibly a grill, charcoal, pork ribs, utensils, some barbecue sauce, we also have in our memory, our cultural knowledge network. This network in memory includes beliefs, values, objects, thinking styles, and mental procedures that are linked to a central cultural concept. For instance, American culture can be thought of as a network of knowledge, including beliefs about the self, the self is unique, values, such as freedom, information processing tendencies, such as decontextualized processing, thinking styles like establishing causality based on personal disposition, special events like the 4th of July, and objects, such as monuments, like the Statue of Liberty, foods like an hamburger, and brands like Coke or Nike. Thinking of culture as a network of knowledge, implies that reminding individuals about their culture will bring to mind all the elements within the network. In the same way that thinking about making a barbecue can bring to mind a grill, pork ribs, and charcoal, thinking about culture can bring to mind all the elements in our cultural knowledge network. Coming back to the example I use at the opening of this module, if you're an American spending a month in China with no contact with American things, encountering a fellow American will activate the cultural network, and with it, all the elements in the network. As these elements are now sailing in your mind, they can guide your behavior, as in having a sudden urge to eat a hamburger. Because brands can form part of a cultural knowledge network, they can also trigger the process of network activation. Exposure to an iconic brand can activate the cultural network, and bring to the fore of the mind the other elements in the network, for instance, watching a Ford truck commercial can active knowledge about American culture and all its elements in the network, such as values, beliefs, and processing style. In this exercise, I want you to think about your culture, American culture, Chinese culture, and write a story explaining your culture to others. That is to write a story that can convey to those unfamiliar with your culture the shared values and beliefs that are important in your culture, or the elements that define being a person of worth in your culture. Now, I want you to identify two or three brands that you consider are symbols of your culture. These are brands widely regarded as icons for people in your culture. That is, brands that symbolize your culture. For instance, if you're an American, you might think of Nike or Harley-Davidson. Now, I want you to do the same exercise you did before, write again a story explaining your culture to others. That is, you'll write a story that can convey to those unfamiliar with your culture the shared values and beliefs that are important in your culture, or the elements that define being a person of worth in your culture. However, this time I want you to use the brands you listed as iconic of your culture to tell the story. That means you will use the brands to write the story, and you will include elements in your story that connect to the brands you mentioned before. I want you now to think about this. In which context was it easier for you to talk about your culture with or without the brands in this story. I want you to explain your answers using the concepts of culture activation discussed so far. The exercise you just completed illustrates the process of cultural activation by an iconic brand. The brands you identified in the past exercise activated their corresponding cultural network, and made accessible values, beliefs, and thinking styles of your culture, which in turn facilitated writing a story about your culture. Because iconic brands embodied culture, they give abstract cultural representations, abstract cultural ideas, such as values and beliefs, and concreteness that facilitates talking about them.