From the Introduction to The Culture Code The Culture Code is the unconscious meaning we apply to any given thing a car, a type of food, a relationship, even a country via the culture in which we are raised. The American experience with Jeeps is very different from the French and German experience because our cultures evolved differently (we have strong cultural memories of the open frontier; the French and Germans have strong cultural memories of occupation and war). Therefore, the Codes the meaning we give to the Jeep at an unconscious level are different as well. The reasons for this are numerous (and I will describe them in the next chapter), but it all comes down to the worlds in which we grew up. It is obvious to everyone that cultures are different from one another. What most people don't realize, however, is that these differences actually lead to our processing the same information in different ways. My journey toward the discovery of cultural codes began in the early 1970's. I was a psychoanalyst in Paris at the time, and my clinical work brought me to the research of the great scientist Henri Laborit, who drew a clear connection between learning and emotion, showing that without the latter the former was impossible. The stronger the emotion, the more clearly an experience is learned. Think of a child told by his parents to avoid a hot pan on a stove. This concept is abstract to the child until he reaches out, touches the pan, and it burns him. In this intensely emotional moment of pain, the child learns what "hot" and "burn" means and is very unlikely ever to forget it. The combination of the experience and its accompanying emotion create something known widely (and coined as such by Konrad Lorenz) as an imprint. Once an imprint occurs, it strongly conditions our thought processes and shapes our future actions. Each imprint helps make us more of who we are. The combination of these imprints defines us. One of my most memorable personal imprints came when I was a young boy. I grew up in France, and when I was about four years old, my family received an invitation to a wedding. I'd never been to one before and I had no idea what to expect. What I encountered was remarkable. French weddings are unlike weddings in any other culture I know. The event went on for two days, nearly all of which was spent around a large communal table. People stood at the table to offer toasts. They stood on the table to sing songs. They slept under the table and (as I later learned) even seduced one another under the table. Food was always available. People drank le trou Normand, a glass of Calvados that allowed them to make room for more food. Others simply went to the bathroom to vomit so they could eat more. It was an amazing thing to see as a child and it left a permanent imprint on me. Forever more, I would always associate weddings with gustatory excess. In fact, the first time I went to a wedding in America, I was taken aback by how sedate it was in comparison. Recently, when I remarried, my wife (who also grew up in France) and I held the kind of multi-day feast that meant "wedding" to both of us. Every imprint influences us on an unconscious level. When the work of Laborit crystallized this for me, I began to incorporate what I learned from him into my clinical work in Paris, most of which was being done with autistic children (in fact, Laborit led me to the theory that autistic children do not learn effectively because they lack the emotion to do so). The subject of imprinting also formed the foundation of the lectures I gave during this time. After one particular lecture at Geneva University, the father of a student approached me. "Dr. Rapaille, I might have a clientRapaille, Clotaire is the author of 'Culture Code An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do', published 2006 under ISBN 9780767920568 and ISBN 0767920562.