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Culture and the Individual Cognition: The Anthropological Approach.

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Presentation on theme: "Culture and the Individual Cognition: The Anthropological Approach."— Presentation transcript:

1 Culture and the Individual Cognition: The Anthropological Approach

2 Focus on In-Context, Everyday Cognition Focus is on mental processes and structures in context That means everyday cognition, rather than cognition that attempts to be best or correct as in intelligence or epistemological tests Heuristics Derived from linguistics Emic vs Etic Feature Analysis and Componential Analysis Features that distinguish one meaning from another Meanings have more than one feature Structure of meanings ParadigmSerial Symbolic Processing TaxonomyConnectionist Model

3 Heuristics A heuristic is a cognitive/mental short cut Satisficing – Finding an option that meets certain criteria, but is not necessarily the best option possible EG. Choosing a tree to make a canoe Elimination by aspects – Using criteria one by one in sequence to eliminate options that are not desirable EG. Buying a used car

4 Frame Elicitation Interviewing A technique for eliciting an emic version of how someone conceptualizes a particular concept/topic. Tell me about? What kinds of ___________ are there? What is the difference between ___ and ___? EG. Race Interview

5 Similarity Judgments Give participants three terms/concepts and ask them to select the one that is most different Elicits feature analysis from informants Allows researcher to test predictions about features of terms/categories EG. Sedan – SUV – Truck

6 Paradigms A structure made up of mutually exclusive categories American Kinship Categories Three features for kinship categories: Generation, Collaterality, Gender

7 Taxonomies A structure made up of categories where some categories are kinds of others Kinds of Pets Folk taxonomies rarely exceed five levels, probably because of short term memory.

8 Major Components of Feature Analysis Domain – an area of conceptualization Attribute – a feature of meaning Dimension – a set of contrasting features Polysemy – multiple senses of meaning for a single term/concept Conjunctivity – features that jointly define a concept/term Chunking – grouping like things together into a new single category Analogy – matching concept relationships Semantic Networks - structures of meaning that are linked together by patterned relationships

9 Schema Schema = a complex cognitive structure that consists of an abstract plan for organizing human experience Synonyms in cognitive science –Frame –Scene –Scenario –Script Two functions Representations of environmental regularities Processing mechanisms

10 Abstract Representation EG. Entertaining: American Dinner Party People – multiple individuals Roles – one or more hosts, one or more guests Objects – table, chairs, dishes, glasses, silverware, table covering, a variety of foods and drinks, etc. Location – a home with a dining room, plus other rooms in which people can relax before and after the dining experience. Behavior Patterns – greeting, conversation, dining, etc.

11 Processing Mechanism Recognizing features Recognizing the configuration (pattern of relationship) of features Constructing an event to fit the configuration of features that make up the abstract schema that already exists

12 Types of Schema Image Schema House Event Schema Entertaining Orientation Schema Inside Narrative Schemas Fairy tale narrative Metaphoric Schemas Britain is taking small steps

13 Image Schema Which one fits your image of a house?

14 Schema Model

15 Serial Symbolic Processing Model Serial symbolic processing works well for math and logic problems. Functions as rigid rules that govern outcomes In this model, X occurs when a and b are activated; Y occurred when c and d are activated. There is no partial activation or aggregated activation potential.

16 Connectionist Model

17 Serial and Connectionist Models Serial structures are quickly learned and easily changed Serial structures are defined by rules that can be verbalized Connectionist structures are built up over time through many experiences Connectionist structures are not easily changed Connectionist structures are usually not conscious or verbal – much more difficult to explain

18 Cultural Models Cultural models are schema that are extracted by the investigator from the thinking and behavior of informants. Informants do/can not describe them explicitly. Carolina Islands Navigation system Folk Schema for the Mind The American Model of Marriage

19 Carolina Islands Navigation Major components of the Model Star Tracks Placement of the Sun Reference Island Etaks Stationary Canoe, Moving Environment Learned formally with instruction

20 Folk Schema for the Mind Conscious, perceived and perceiving self Real life event Perception Thought – to feeling or wish Feeling – Reflexive Expressive Act Wish – to thought or intention Intention Act Learned informally; no instruction

21 American Model for the Mind Eight Characteristics of Marriage Sharedness Lastingness Mutual Benefit Compatibility Difficulty Effort Success or Failure Risk Learned informally; no instruction

22 Cultural Theories Cultural Theories are schema consisting of an interrelated set of proposition that describe the nature of something. Are verbalized explicitly by informants. The Theory of Conventionality The Theory of Essences

23 Conventionality Conventionality – rules that are arbitrary, relative and alterable Morality – rules that are rational, universal and unalterable Question: Does every culture have a theory of conventionality?

24 Essences Are there natural kinds that remain intact despite changes in many of the distinctive features that define them? Still under investigation.

25 Schemas and Perception How people label things can affect how the things are perceived This effect only occurs if the names or labels are salient at the time of perception Language (labels) only affects perception weakly

26 Schema and Memory An event that has a short, reliable and agreed-upon label will be more easily remembered than one that does not An event that is coded in a schema will be more easily remembered than one that is not. People are biased toward remembering things together when they associate them together in schemas The more typical an event, the less accurately it will be remembered People will remember typical events by filling in typical details Memory can be biased by verbal stereotypes as well as typical event schemas Memories recalled by people without well-formed schemas will be less accurate Memories recalled by people without well-formed schemas when aggregated across individual will be more complete and accurate than memories recalled by people with well-formed schemas

27 Schemas and Reasoning Reasoning is making inferences on the basis of the form of the argument alone Reasoning allows us to create schemas Schemas allow us to reason Resoning appears to be a human universal People can use logic correctly when they have been trained with familiar content People are smart because someone taught them the right models.

28 Socially Distributed Cognition Individuals are dependent on good cultural models for intelligence and ability Cultural models are held by a group and are taught by members of the group The individual is only a part of the general process by which models are developed, elaborated, taught, replaced and forgotten.

29 Confirmation Bias in Distributed Cognition The larger the decision making group, the less optimal the decision will be New information discovered by individuals will be ignored by the group in favor of what is already known This is called confirmation bias Confirmation bias is overcome by –Having a large number of individuals independently making a decision –Having a set of agreed upon rules for making decisions or drawing conclusions

30 Cognitive Artifacts To improve distributed cognition –Overcome confirmation bias –Use of cognitive artifacts Pencil and paper Symbolic systems like algebra and calculus The scientific method Computer Calculator Navigational instruments Etc.

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