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Language, Anthropology and Cognitive Science
New Series, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 183-198
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2803828
Page Count: 16
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Cultural anthropology, Linguistic anthropology, Cognitive anthropology, Anthropology, Cognitive models, Connectionism, Cognitive psychology, Language, Cognition, Learning
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It is argued in this article that anthropology has relied upon a psychologically misleading and overly linguistic model of culture. Psychological studies show that concepts are principally formed independently of language. Moreover, studies of expertise show that in order to become an expert at a familiar task or a set of tasks a person needs to organise his or her knowledge in a way which is not language-like. The article draws on the theory of connectionism to suggest that most cultural knowledge cannot therefore be organised in the sentential logical form characteristic of language. It is suggested that the traditional anthropological method of participant observation enables the cognitive scientist to understand cultural knowledge without the dangerous intermediary of language.