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Culture and Decision/Reasoning. What is culture for?. Culture as software How do humans survive in complex information landscapes? We are not programmed by evolution for our niche Culture We have relatively general-purpose computational abilities We have a long childhood training period

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Presentation Transcript
what is culture for
What is culture for?
  • Culture as software
  • How do humans survive in complex information landscapes?
    • We are not programmed by evolution for our niche
  • Culture
    • We have relatively general-purpose computational abilities
    • We have a long childhood training period
    • Tomasello argues that ability for empathy is critical
influences of culture
Influences of culture
  • Culture creates our cognitive makeup.
  • How?
    • Provides us with a language
    • Provides us with important background knowledge (theories)
    • Provides us with habitual ways of thinking about the world
    • Provides us with tools
    • Provides social and cognitive structures
    • Provides us with ways of solving problems
effects of language
Effects of language
  • We transmit culture through language
  • Does language also affect the way we think?
    • The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
    • Early versions were too strong
    • Ongoing research on this topic
    • Thinking for Speaking (Slobin)
culture and knowledge
Culture and Knowledge
  • Cultural education provides information
    • Mental models of how the world works
    • Recall cultural differences in category-based induction
    • Micronesian navigation (Hutchins)
    • Myths, legends, and rituals
      • How to deal with situations for which each individual has only limited experience
      • Life-cycle events
    • Problem solving within a culture
culture and tools
Culture and tools
  • Culture gets ever more complex
    • Each generation need not start fresh
      • Don’t need to re-invent the wheel
    • Tools can be adapted for the tasks to be solved
    • Tools can be adapted for human cognition
    • Tools can be adapted for culture
culture and social structures
Culture and social structures
  • Culture tells us how to distribute cognition
    • Individuals take roles within society
    • We know where to go for types of services
    • Individuals take on cognitive roles
    • Cultural knowledge is preserved and advanced through individuals
    • Decision making and preference can be provided in part through these roles