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Lecture 17

SOC483Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Mit Press, Cognitive Psychology, Edwin Hutchins

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Vanina Leschziner

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SOC483Y1- February 15, 2012
Reading: Edwin Hutchins, selections from “introduction,” “Navigation as Computation,”
chapter 2, “The Implementation of Contemporary Pilotage,” chapter 3, “Cultural
Cognition,” chapter 9 in Cognition in the Wild (The MIT Press, 1995), pp. xi-xiv, 65-67,
92-99, 110-116, 164-174, 353-374.
- Culture is a process
- Anthropologists guilty of accepting marginalization of culture or enhancing it as
they thought they could grant space to powers or limitations of the mind
guilty of overlooking cultural nature of cognition results of this leads us to
make too much of the inside/outside boundary or to assume the primacy of the
boundary over other delimitations of cognitive systems
Hutchins work helps thinking about things beyond the obvious…
Hutchins on whether problem solving would be reduced with globalization across
different countries- if we take into account all the factors Hutchins thinks we need to
keep in mind to understand cognition it goes beyond rationality or ways of thinking
Hutchins cultural anthropologist by training, studied all sorts of things- our reading
is on the study of navigation, worked with US Navy ships and on New Guinea and then
flying and deck operations
“naturally situated cognition” and socially distributed cognition
- Natural because our cognition happens in the wild which reminds you of Jean
Lave critique of many studying cognition Lave introduced artificial
conditions where you cannot really understand cognition as it is artificial and
not like real life vs. Hutchins adds to Lave is that they do not have materials
- Also anthropology influenced- in the conclusion Hutchins explains where
anthropologists coming from reacting to behaviorist tendencies moving to the
- Psychology and anthropology was very behaviorist focused trying to
understand behavior by looking at people which led to an analysis of culture
and cognition which happens inside the mind (Geertz) related in that people
would study cognition and culture in terms of what people could verbalize
why they talked about it
- 1. First cognitive psychology turned inward- functioning with what people need
to know to be a good member (Tylor) knowledge that people need to have to
be good members of society which is declarative knowledge
- 2. It turned away from practice inquiring about what people know people
stopped looking at what they do and looked at what they say they do therefore
we see Hutchins emphasis on study in the wild inward and outward
- Cannot say inside or outside are distinct no binary
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