While reading texts from a different culture or a different time period I sometimes find deeper meanings elusive. I feel that this is partially related to living in a different culture and/or a different period of time. It can be difficult to intrinsically understand meaning, values and sensibilities the target culture has/had.

For example, If I read a text from Sophocles, Homer etc... it might mention a character wearing purple. I now know this implies that the person/character was of higher social standing since purple dye was not commonly available like it is today. However, this fact probably doesn't come naturally to a modern American reader as wearing purple doesn't signify higher social standing.

A more lighthearted example might be watching a Simpsons episode from the early 90's in which they make fun of owning a Macintosh computer which of course would be somewhat lost today since they are perceived to be of higher quality/value.

I suppose this word might be cultural bias, but I was hoping there was something more specific that describes not the just the bias but the the inability to understand other cultures because of natural tendencies to look through our own world-view.

1 Answer 1


This is typically referred to as a culture gap:

A culture gap is any systematic difference between two cultures which hinders mutual understanding or relations. Such differences include the values, behavior, education, and customs of the respective cultures. The term was originally used to describe the difficulties encountered in interactions between early 20th century travelers and pre-industrial cultures, but has since been used more broadly to refer to mutual misunderstandings and incomprehension arising with people from differing backgrounds and experiences.

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