Our Functional Cognitive Architectures Are Modified By Our Culture

Thanks to neu­ro­science research, we today know that we don‘t exclu­sive­ly absorb cul­ture through uni­ver­sal­ly shared, standard-issue, human per­cep­tu­al equip­ment, but cul­ture deter­mines what we can and can‘t per­ceive. Our func­tion­al cog­ni­tive archi­tec­tures are mod­i­fied by our cul­ture.

The impact of this so-called per­cep­tu­al learn­ing is big­ger than most of us imag­ine. Not only lit­er­a­cy and lan­guage but also such fun­da­men­tal brain activ­i­ties, such as sight and per­cep­tion, are changed by cul­ture. This fas­ci­nat­ing impact of cul­ture on our brain has been shown in sev­er­al inter-cultural exper­i­ments, by Richard E. Nis­bett. These exper­i­ments showed that West­ern­ers (US Amer­i­cans) per­ceive words or images dif­fer­ent­ly from East­ern­ers (Japan­ese). While East­ern­ers approach words and images „ana­lyt­i­cal­ly“; i.e. by divid­ing what they observe into indi­vid­ual parts and there­fore per­ceiv­ing objects in iso­la­tion, East­ern­ers approach the world „holis­ti­cal­ly“, see­ing objects as relat­ed to each other, per­ceiv­ing „the whole“.

Our Func­tion­al Cog­ni­tive Archi­tec­tures Are Mod­i­fied By Our Cul­ture

How­ev­er, if peo­ple of one cul­ture emi­grate to anoth­er, after a few years they start per­ceiv­ing as peo­ple of the newly adopt­ed cul­ture do. Per­cep­tion, as it turns out, is not a pas­sive, bottom-up process, but already starts when ener­gy from the out­side world reach­es our body’s sense recep­tors and move on to the per­cep­tu­al cen­ters in our brain. While per­ceiv­ing, the human brain is active and con­stant­ly adjust­ing itself.

The fact that cul­ture changes per­cep­tion should lead to a much high­er tol­er­ance and bet­ter under­stand­ing among human beings. If I know that my neigh­bor does not per­ceive the same while look­ing at the same object, I might be called upon to have a con­ver­sa­tion about the objec­t’s prop­er­ties first, before get­ting into a poten­tial argu­ment. Let’s always remem­ber Dar­win!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

@MICHAELREUTER

GOOD READS

The Mind­ful Rev­o­lu­tion, Michael Reuter

Die Acht­same Rev­o­lu­tion, Michael Reuter

The Idea of the Brain, Matthew

Essen Ändert Alles, Hol­ger Stromberg

How Con­ta­gion Works, Paolo Gior­dano

Rewire Your Brain , John B. Arden

The Way of the Ice­man, Koen de Jong

Soft Wired — How The New Sci­ence of Brain Plas­tic­i­ty Can Change Your Life, Michael Merzenich

The Brain That Changes Itself, Nor­man Doidge

Lifes­pan, David Sin­clair

What Does­n’t Kill Us, Scott Car­ney

Suc­cess­ful Aging, Daniel Levithin

The Body Builders, Adam Piore

Der Ernährungskom­pass, Bas Kast

The Way We Eat Now, Bee Wil­son

Dein Gehirn weiss mehr als Du denkst, Niels Bir­baumer

Denken: Wie das Gehirn Bewusst­sein schafft, Stanis­las Dehaene

Mind­ful­ness, Ellen J. Langer

Full Cat­a­stro­phe Liv­ing, Jon Kabat-Zinn

100 Plus: How The Com­ing Age of Longevi­ty Will Change Every­thing, Sonia Arri­son

Think­ing Like A Plant, Craig Hol­dredge

Die Glück­shy­pothese, Jonathan Haidt

Mind Over Med­i­cine, Lissa Rankin

Das Geheime Wis­sen unser­er Zellen, Son­dra Bar­ret

The Code of the Extra­or­di­nary Mind, Vishen Lakhi­ani

Alt wer­den ohne alt zu sein, Rudi Wes­t­en­dorp

Altered Traits, Daniel Cole­man, Richard David­son

The Brain’s Way Of Heal­ing, Nor­man Doidge

The Last Best Cure, Donna Jack­son Nakaza­wa

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, Gut Feel­ings and the Biol­o­gy of Boom and Bust, John Coates

The Inner Game of Ten­nis, W. Tim­o­thy Gall­way

Run­ning Lean, Ash Mau­rya

Schlaf wirkt Wun­der, Hans-Günther Weeß

Sleep — Schlafen wie die Profis, Nick Lit­tle­hales

© 2020 MICHAEL REUTER . Powered by WordPress. Theme by Viva Themes.