The Rutherford Atom of Culture

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture

Abstract

Increasingly, psychologists have shown a healthy interest in cultural variation and a skepticism about assuming that research with North American and Northern European undergraduates provides reliable insight into universal psychological processes. Unfortunately, this reappraisal has not been extended to questioning the notion of culture central to this project. Rather, there is wide acceptance that culture refers to a kind of social form that is entity-like, territorialized, marked by a high degree of shared beliefs and coalescing into patterns of key values that animate a broad range of cultural performances and representations. Ironically, anthropologists and other scholars in cultural studies have overwhelmingly come to reject this view of culture. Arguably, then, the move in psychology to attend to cultural environments has paradoxically further distanced it from the fields most concerned with cultural forms. This essay reviews this state of affairs and offers a proposal how a more nuanced appreciation of cultural life can be articulated with theories and methods familiar and available to psychologists.

  • Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.

  • Appadurai, A. (1990). Topographies of the self: Praise and emotion in Hindu India. In C. A. Lutz & L. Abu-Lughod (Eds.), Language and the politics of emotion. (pp. 92–112). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press & Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at large: cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press.

  • Asad, T. (1987). Are there histories of peoples without Europe? A review article: JSTOR.

  • Atran, S. (1990). Cognitive foundations of natural history: Towards an anthropology of science. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bar-Haim, Y., Ziv, T., Lamy, D., & Hodes, R. M. (2006). Nature and Nurture in Own-Race Face Processing. Psychological Science, 17(2), 159–163. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01679.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bender, A., Hutchins, E., & Medin, D. (2010). Anthropology in Cognitive Science. Topics in Cognitive Science, 2(3), 374–385. doi:10.1111/j.1756-8765.2010.01082.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality; a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boyer, P. (1990). Tradition as truth and communication: a cognitive description of traditional discourse. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brightman, R. (1995). Forget culture: replacement, transcendence, reflexification. Cultural Anthropology, 10, 509–546.

  • Brooks, J., & Lewis, M. (1976). Infants’ responses to strangers: Midget, adult, and child. Child Development, 47(2), 323–332.

  • Brown, A. L., Kane, M. J., & Long, C. (1989). Analogical transfer in young children: Analogies as tools for communication and exposition. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 3(4), 275–293. doi:10.1002/acp.2350030402.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brubaker, R. (2004). Ethnicity without groups: Harvard University Press.

  • Bushnell, I. W., Sai, F., & Mullin, J. T. (1989). Neonatal recognition of the mother’s face. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 7(1), 3–15. doi:10.1111/j.2044-835X.1989.tb00784.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Claidière, N., & Sperber, D. (2007). The role of attraction in cultural evolution. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 7(1), 89–111.

  • Clifford, J. (1988). The predicament of culture: Harvard University Press.

  • Clifford, J., & Marcus, G. E. (1986). Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography: Univ of California Press.

  • Cohen, D. (2015a). Cultural Psychology. Oxford Bibliographies. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordbibliographiesonline.com/.

  • Cohen, D. (2015b). Cultural Psychology. In M. Milulincer & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 415–456): American Psychological Association.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cosmides, L., Tooby, J., & Kurzban, R. (2003). Perceptions of race. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(4), 173–179.

  • de Camp Wilson, T., & Nisbett, R. E. (1978). The accuracy of verbal reports about the effects of stimuli on evaluations and behavior. Social Psychology, 118–131.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Diesendruck, G., & Eldror, E. (2011). What children infer from social categories. Cognitive Development, 26(2), 118–126. doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2010.11.001.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dirks, N. B. (2011). Castes of mind: Colonialism and the making of modern India: Princeton University Press.

  • Dirks, N. B., Eley, G., & Ortner, S. B. (1994). Culture/power/history: a reader in contemporary social theory. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunbar, K. (1999). How scientists build models in vivo science as a window on the scientific mind. Model-based reasoning in scientific discovery (pp. 85–99): Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dunham, Y., Baron, A. S., & Carey, S. (2011). Consequences of “Minimal” Group Affiliations in Children. Child Development, 82(3), 793–811. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01577.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • El Guindi, F., & Read, D. W. (2014). Can there be cognitive science without anthropology? topiCS, 6(1), 144–145.

  • Fried, M. H. (1975). The notion of tribe: Benjamin-Cummings Publishing Company.

  • Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York, NY: Basic Books.

  • Gentner, D. (1983). Structure‐mapping: A theoretical framework for analogy. Cognitive science, 7(2), 155–170.

  • Gil-White, F. J. (2001). Are ethnic groups biological “species” to the human brain? Essentialism in our cognition of some social categories. Current Anthropology, 42(4), 515–554.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gjerde, P. F. (2004). Culture, power, and experience: Toward a person-centered cultural psychology. Human Development, 47(3), 138–157.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gjerde, P. F., & Onishi, M. (2000). Selves, cultures, and nations: The psychological imagination of ‘the Japanese’ in the era of globalization. Human Development, 43(4–5), 216–226.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gupta, A., & Ferguson, J. (1992). Beyond “culture”: Space, identity, and the politics of difference. Cultural Anthropology, 7(1), 6–23.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hacking, I. (1990). The taming of chance (Vol. 17): Cambridge University Press.

  • Hacking, I. (1998). Mad travelers: Reflections on the reality of transient mental illnesses. Charlottesville, VA, US: University Press of Virginia.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haidt, J. (2007). The new synthesis in moral psychology. Science, 316(5827), 998–1002.

  • Haidt, J., Bjorklund, F., & Murphy, S. (2000). Moral dumbfounding: When intuition finds no reason.

  • Heilbron, J. L., & Kuhn, T. S. (1969). The Genesis of the Bohr Atom. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 1, vi–290. doi:10.2307/27757291.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henrich, J., & Boyd, R. (1998). The evolution of conformist transmission and the emergence of between-group differences. Evolution and Human Behavior, 19(4), 215–241.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (1988). On acquiring social categories: cognitive development and anthropological wisdom. Man, 23, 611–638.

  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (1994). Is the acquisition of social categories based on domain-specific competence or on knowledge transfer? In L. Hirschfeld & S. A. Gelman (Eds.), Mapping the mind: Domain specificity in cognition and culture (pp. 201–233). New York, NY, US: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (1995). Do children have a theory of race? Cognition, 54(2), 209–252.

  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (2002). Why don’t anthropologists like children? American Anthropologist, 104(2), 611–667.

  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (2007). Folksociology and the cognitive foundations of culture. Intellectica, 46–47(2–3), 191–206.

  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (2008). The bi-lingual brain revisited. Evolutionary Psychology, 6(1), 182–185.

  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (2012). Seven myths of race and the young child. Du Bois Review, 9(1), 17–39.

  • Hirschfeld, L. A. (2013). The myth of mentalizing and the primacy of folk sociology. In M. R. Banaji & S. Gelman (Eds.), Navigating the social world: What infants, children, and other species can teach us (pp. 101–106). New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hirschfeld, L. A., Bartmess, E., White, S., & Frith, U. (2007). Can autistic children predict behavior by social stereotypes? Current Biology, 17(12), R451–R452.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hong, Y.-y., & Chiu, C.-y. (2001). Toward a paradigm shift: From cross-cultural differences in social cognition to social-cognitive mediation of cultural differences. Social Cognition, 19(3: Special issue), 181–196.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jahoda, G. (2012). Critical reflections on some recent definitions of “culture”. Culture & Psychology, 18(3), 289–303.

  • Justi, R., & Gilbert, J. (2000). History and philosophy of science through models: some challenges in the case of ‘the atom’. International Journal of Science Education, 22(9), 993–1009. doi:10.1080/095006900416875.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Irvine, J. (2014, June 6). J.ola or Wolof. Times Literary Supplement, 25.

  • Kanovsky, M. (2007). Essentialism and Folksociology: Ethnicity Again. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 7(3), 241.

  • Kashima, Y., & Gelfand, M. J. (2012). A history of culture in psychology. Handbook of the history of social psychology, 499.

  • Kelly, D. J., Liu, S., Ge, L., Quinn, P. C., Slater, A. M., Lee, K., …Pascalis, O. (2007). Cross-Race Preferences for Same-Race Faces Extend Beyond the African Versus Caucasian Contrast in 3-Month-Old Infants. Infancy, 11(1), 87–95. doi:10.1207/s15327078in1101_4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Klein, R. G., & Edgar, B. (2002). The dawn of human culture: Wiley New York.

  • Kroeber, A. L., & Kluckhohn, C. (1952). Culture: A critical review of concepts and definitions. Papers. Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuper, A. (1988). The invention of primitive society: transformations of an illusion: Psychology Press.

  • Leach, E. R. (1970). Political systems of Highland Burma: a study of Kachin social structure. London: Athlone Press.

  • Mahalingam, R. (2007). Essentialism, Power, and the Representation of Social Categories: A Folk Sociology Perspective. Human Development, 50(6), 300–319.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98(2), US American Psychological Assn.; 1991, 1224–1253.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (2010). Cultures and Selves: A Cycle of Mutual Constitution. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(4), 420–430.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McCauley, R. N., & Lawson, E. T. (1996). Who owns’ culture’? Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, 8(2), 171–190.

  • Mead, M. (1932). An investigation of the thought of primitive children with special reference to animism. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 62, 173–190.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mehler, J., Jusczyk, P., Lambertz, G., Halsted, N., Bertoncini, J., & Amiel-Tison, C. (1988). A precursor of language acquisition in young infants. Cognition, 29, 143–178.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Miller, C. L. (1983). Developmental changes in male/female voice classification by infants. Infant Behavior & Development, 6(3), 313–330.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morin, O. (2015). How traditions live and die: Oxford University Press.

  • Morris, M. W. (2014). Values as the essence of culture: Foundation or fallacy? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 45(1), 14–24.

  • Muggler, E. (2001). The age of wild ghosts: Memory, violence and place in southwest China: Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Nadeau, J.-B., & Barlow, J. (2010). The story of French: Vintage Canada.

  • Olson, K. R., & Dweck, C. S. (2009). Social cognitive development: A new look. Child Development Perspectives, 3(1), 60–65.

  • Pollner, M., & McDonald-Wikler, L. (1985). The Social Construction of Unreality: A Case Study of a Family’s Attribution of Competence to a Severely Retarded Child. Family Process, 24(2), 241–254. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.1985.00241.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, L., & Spelke, E. S. (2013). Preverbal infants expect members of social groups to act alike. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — PNAS, 110(41), E3965.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Premack, D. (1991). The aesthetic basis of pedagogy. In D. S. P. Robert R. Hoffman (Ed.), Cognition and the symbolic processes: Applied and ecological perspectives. (pp. 303–325): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, Hillsdale, NJ, US.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ranger, T. O., & Hobsbawm, E. J. (1983). The invention of tradition: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  • Rhodes, M. (2012). Naïve Theories of Social Groups. Child Development, 83(6), 1900–1916. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01835.x.

  • Richerson, P., Boyd, R., & Henrich, J. (2003). Human cooperation. Genetic and cultural evolution of cooperation, 357–388.

  • Rosaldo, R. (1993). Culture & truth: the remaking of social analysis: with a new introduction: Beacon Press.

  • Ross, N., & Medin, D. L. (2011). Culture and Cognition: The Role of Cognitive Anthropology in Anthropology and the Cognitive Sciences. A Companion to Cognitive Anthropology (pp. 355–375): Wiley-Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rothbart, M., & Taylor, M. (1990). Category labels and social reality: Do we view social categories as natural kinds? In G. Semin & K. Fiedler (Eds.), Language, interaction, and social cognition (pp. 11–36). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schwartz, S. H. (2014). Rethinking the concept and measurement of societal culture in light of empirical findings. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 45(1), 5–13.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shutts, K., Kinzler, K. D., McKee, C. B., & Spelke, E. S. (2009). Social information guides infants’ selection of foods. Journal of Cognition and Development, 10(1–2), 1–17.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shweder, R. A. (2007). An anthropological perspective: The revival of cultural psychology — some premonitions and reflections. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cultural psychology (pp. 821–833). New York: Guilford Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Spelke, E. S., & Kinzler, K. D. (2007). Core knowledge. Developmental Science, 10(1), 89–96.

  • Sperber, D. (1975). Rethinking symbolism. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • Sperber, D. (1996). Explaining culture: a naturalistic approach. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.

  • Sperber, D., & Hirschfeld, L. A. (2004). The cognitive foundations of cultural stability and diversity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(1), 40–46.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sperber, D., & Hirschfeld, L. A. (2006). Culture and modularity. In P. Carruthers, S. Laurence, & S. P. Stich (Eds.), The Innate Mind. Volume 2: Culture and Cognition (pp. 149–164). New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (1986). Relevance: communication and cognition. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Basil Blackwell.

  • Stringer, C. (2011). The origin of our species. London ; New York: Allen Lane.

  • Stoler, A. L. (1995). Race and the education of desire: Foucault’s History of sexuality and the colonial order of things. Durham: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Swidler, A. (1986). Culture in action: Symbols and strategies. American Sociological Review, 273–286.

  • Taber, K. S. (2001). When the analogy breaks down: modelling the atom on the solar system. Physics Education, 36(3), 222.

  • Taylor, M. G., Rhodes, M., & Gelman, S. A. (2009). Boys will be boys; cows will be cows: Children’s essentialist reasoning about gender categories and animal species. Child Development, 80(2), 461–481.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (1992). The psychological foundations of culture. In J. Barkow, L. Cosmides, & J. Tooby (Eds.), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (pp. 19–136). New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Triandis, H. C. (1989). The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts. Psychological Review, 96(3), 506.

  • Triandis, H. C., Malpass, R. S., & Davidson, A. R. (1973). Psychology and culture. Annual Review of Psychology, 24(1), 355–378.

  • Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1975). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Utility, probability, and human decision making (pp. 141–162): Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wagner, R. (1981). The Invention of Culture. 1975. Chicago: U of Chicago P.

  • Williams, R. (1982). Keywords: a vocabulary of culture and society: Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind Tertiary Resource Service.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Willis, P. E. (1977). Learning to labor: How working class kids get working class jobs: Columbia University Press.

  • Wolf, E. (1982). Europe and the People without History. Berkeley: University California Press.

  • Wynn, K., Bloom, P., & Chiang, W.-C. (2002). Enumeration of collective entities by 5-month-old infants. Cognition, 83(3), B55–B62. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(02)00008-2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 466 414 47
Full Text Views 94 87 2
PDF Downloads 28 24 0