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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 Nov 16.docx

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Vanina Leschziner

SOC483Y1- Wednesday November 16, 2011 – Lecture 10 Rosch- mainly concerned with the functions of the brain and cognition. - Coins the term “prototype” which is very influential in the 1970s - Developed processes that led to classification – how we come up with categories? o Categories are a way of making brain mechanisms more effective, given a limited capacity - Increasing interest in cognitive anthropology in studying the brain - Learn categories of the brain through culture - Tend to be the basic level- cultural schemas - “perceived world structure” the way we see things in nature reflects how we classify them - Example: differences in perception create different basic levels for different people: - - vet sees a collie; regular people see a dog - interdependent relationship between how we perceive and how we categorize  Schema is a collection of categories: - Category  basic level  cultural schema - “prototype”: most representative; meets most requirements; average - Implication for thinking in terms of central prototypes or using boundaries: more arguments would arise about boundaries that are fuzzy so it is easier to think about central attributes: - Cognitive economy: easier and more effective than boundaries - We use logic and perceptions of the world to create and organize categories - use the way animals look (perception) and logic to create boundaries between categories - Labels are important but don’t shape every thought - Notion that language (label system) shapes everything to create a veil of perception: if people do not have a word for something, they just can’t perceive it  NOT TRUE, just a misconception, what people used to think - When things are prototypical we don’t need a label to identify them - Only when boundaries are fuzzy, are cultural schemas and language referred to - We only label things that seem to be on boundaries D’Andrade: - Prototype is a very simple idea that isn’t enough to explain cognition - Interested in schemas to understand architecture of the brain - Gaps in memory are filled by cultural schemas - Describing day using the same “events”  cultural schema of what we usually do - Reasoning: simply forms of reasoning p, therefore q, is easy to identify but increasingly complex logic requires more context Presentation - Rosch - Principle of Categorization - 2 principles for categorizing 1. Serves a function because categorizing provides maximum information with minimal effort 2. Our perceived world of humans, is impacted by our categorization and how we perceive it Vertical Dimension has 3 levels Exercise- *Muffin: a basic level object vs. another basic level object: cupcake – then you have subordinate level: blueberry, chocolate – superordinate: umbrella terms, baked goods Rosch studied the basic level object more which is when we come to horizontal dimension of categorizing system - Vertical: basic level object- there are 4 elements attributed to the basic level object 1. Common attribute- basic level has the most common attributes 2. Common motor movements- “eat” associated with muffin, come to learn with our interaction with the object which is how one comes about learning what a chair is for example 3. Similarity in shapes- 4. The identifiability of averaged sized shapes – rough outline of muffin you recognize the shape – ex. Bathroom sign What is the use of all of this? – she talked about implications of what is use of basic level categories- implications on perception, language, imagery and development = always “knowing” Basic level categories- are building blocks Horizontal Dimension – “prototype theory” – most categories do not have clear cut boundaries Ex. Cake and cupcakes- are they really different? Or just a marketing pitch The typical difference depends on how we perceive – thus making the category membership. *Prototypes appear to be just those members of a category that most reflect the redundancy structure of the category as a whole. That is, if categories form to maximize the information-rich cluster of attributes in the environment and, thus, the cue validity or category resemblance of the attributes of categories, prototypes of categories appear to form in such a manner as to maximize such clusters and such cue validity still further within categories.” (pg. 37) -- Ex. Muffin = prototype = horizontal dimension *Nature of the perceived attributes – perceived world We re-examine thing when not orderly Role of Context in basic level Role of objects and events – Rosch sees events as standing at the interface of analysis of individual psychology – events playing important role in social structure. How we interpret a superordinate name – facilitates culture- shared patterns of thinking D’Andrade - high consensus - development of cognitive anthropology – investigating cultural knowledge embedded in words and artefacts- shared with other humans - cognitive presentations providing maps of the world, allowing us to adapt to the world, affective action - cultural representations present more than maps – influence perception, memory and reasoning, Chips – green to blue – two groups of people: American vs. tribe – language does not include green or blue, only have light or dark vs. Americans who have language to identify different colours. Point of this experiment: idea common in culture and cognition and study of language that the words we have shape our ideas. (Saussure) Thus language shapes our thinking. Cultures that do not have certain labels for certain colours do not perceive those colours- this experiment involved 2 different groups with 2 different names for colours – Americans divided with green, green/blue | blue Two chips at a time- Americans would categorize the chips differently – which are more alike or more different? Americans would say maybe the two with green are more similar than the blue when shown together vs. when the three are shown together. The point was to show that it is not that labels shape our perception – Appear wharf hypothesis- because when labels dominant they are salient. Only two, labels become less salient. It is not that names, categories or labels totally shape our thinking but in certain circumstances they do and are more salient. The tribe group that had no label, when shown 2 together they were making same classification as Americans.  Memory  Reasoning – to reason is influenced by cultural models People make up models of thinking themselves Lecture - Reading mental mechanisms - Rosch- cognitive psychologist - D’andrade – cognitive anthropology - Both contemporary - Conceptualize notion of prototypes - D’andrade is more sensitive to culture than Rosch as a result of anthropologists interests – cognitive psychologist: studying mechanisms of the mind but have become somewhat more sensitive to culture - Mechanisms of the mind- brain processed- certain things we all share, living in a culturally different society - D’andrade- take some of the findings about mental mechanisms and how they influence kinds of patterns and way of thinking- see how cultural differences may influence patterns of thinking = interested in the way certain mental mechanisms shape our thinking and way cultural knowledge may shape those mental mechanisms We have seen other anthropologists- Douglas and Levi-Strauss (structural anthropologists interested in taxonomy, systems of classification), Geertz (cultural or symbolic anthropology) = all early attempts in anthropology to study cognition – native forms of classification
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