Culture, perception and cognition
DOI link for Culture, perception and cognition
Culture, perception and cognition book
There is one question that, perhaps more than any other, motivates anthropological inquiry. Take people from different backgrounds and place them in the same situation; they are likely to differ in what they make of it. Indeed such difference is something that every anthropologist experiences in the initial phases of ﬁeldwork. But why should this be so? How do we account for it? In their attempts to answer this question, anthropologists have come up against some of the most contested issues in the psychology of perception and cognition. My purpose in this chapter is to show how they have dealt with these issues. The chapter is divided into two parts. In the ﬁrst part I trace something of the history of the problem over the past century of anthropological thought. In the second, I go on to assess the relevance for anthropological understanding of alternative approaches drawn from cognitive science, ecological psychology and phenomenology. This is a considerable agenda, and in the space of a single chapter I can do no more than touch on the many questions raised.