Prosocial Morality in Individual and Collective Cognition

in Journal of Cognition and Culture
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There has been much interest in understanding the operation of shared collective constructs. Cultural models theory is one of the frameworks in cognitive anthropology engaging the interaction between the individual and collective levels of culture in the process of cultural transmission. The present study attempts to produce the cognitive ethnography focusing on shared understanding of prosocial morality in Sweden. It draws on cognitive data associated with the organization of prosocial ideas (formulated as values) in Swedish society, and uses multi-item scales to explore the distribution of this cultural model across the individual minds and on the group level. The study tests a hypothesis that cultural and individual values priorities have distinct demographic predictors when examined separately, and that these predictors reflect their respective differences in the transmission channels. I stress the importance of the interdisciplinary research to account for the process of consolidation of shared collective knowledge into cultural models.

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