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Culture and Cognition

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  • Gene Poole
    Culture and Cognition Synopsis of a book which you may read Western and Eastern thinking patterns
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2003
      Culture and Cognition

      <http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Abstracts/DiMaggio_97.html>

      Synopsis of a book which you may read

      Western and Eastern thinking patterns contrasted

      This article can provide some of the missing
      pieces to the 'puzzle' of 'how we think'. It is
      easier to see when cultural differences are
      brought to light.

      From the above site:

      "AUTOMATIC COGNITION

      The first, and most important, which I refer to as automatic
      cognition is "implicit, unverbalized, rapid, and automatic"
      (D'Andrade 1995). This routine, everyday cognition relies heavily
      and uncritically upon culturally available schemata - knowledge
      structures that represent objects or events and provide default
      assumptions about their characteristics, relationships, and
      entailments under conditions of incomplete information.

      Psychological research on schemata is central to the interests of
      sociologists both methodologically (due to advances in techniques
      that reveal taken-for-granted assumptions to which subjects may not
      have easy verbal access) and substantively, for what it tells us
      about how culture works. Indeed, for some purposes, it may be useful
      to treat the schema as a basic unit of analysis for the study of
      culture, and to focus on social patterns of schema acquisition,
      diffusion, and modification (Carley 1991 makes a related argument).

      Schemata are both representations of knowledge and information-
      processing mechanisms. As representations, they entail images of
      objects and the relations among them. Psychologists use the term
      broadly [some would suggest too broadly (Fiske & Linville 1980)]. It
      can refer to simple, highly abstract concepts [for example, container
      (D'Andrade 1995)]; to concrete activities (buying chewing gum), or to
      complex social phenomena (group stereotypes or social roles). Event
      schemata or scripts (Abelson 1981, Garfinkel 1987) constitute an
      important class of schemata. Special attention has also been given
      to self schemata (Milburn 1987, Markus & Kitayama 1994, Markus et al
      1997), culturally variable representations of the self that provide
      stability both to individual behavior across time and to social
      interactions within the group.

      Schemata are also mechanisms that simplify cognition. Highly
      schematic cognition is the realm of institutionalized culture, of
      typification, of the habitus, of the cognitive shortcuts that
      promote efficiency at the expense of synoptic accuracy (Berger &
      Luckman 1967, Bourdieu 1990, Kahneman et al 1982). Much cognitive
      research demonstrates that "schematic material dominates other
      material in accurate recall, in intruded recall, in recognition
      confidence, in recall clustering and in resistance to
      disconfirmation. . . . Schemata also facilitate inaccurate recall
      when the information is schema consistent" (Fiske & Linville 1980:
      545). In schematic cognition we find the mechanisms by which culture
      shapes and biases thought.

      People are more likely to perceive information that is germane to
      existing schemata Von Hippel et al (1993) report that experimental
      subjects are more likely to perceive correctly terms that are
      schematically relevant than those that are not. Information embedded
      in existing schemata and information that is schema-dissonant are
      both more likely to be noticed than information orthogonal to
      existing structures (Schneider 1991). Such laboratory findings
      resonate with results in historical sociology and cultural studies:
      for example, the gradual and halting acceptance of information about
      the New World by early modern mapmakers (Zerubavel 1992); the ways in
      which archaic physical models constrained medical scientists'
      interpretation of new evidence about syphilis (Fleck 1979); and the
      penchant of male biologists for seeing dominance hierarchies when
      they watch apes and elephant seals (Haraway 1991)."


      ==GP==




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