Culture can be defined as a pattern of meanings that are historically transmitted in any particular setting (Donald, M. 1991). With culture comes values that form the basis on which people act or are standards that can be used to determine whether they are living according to the expectations of a given society. On the other hand, cognition is the manner in which an individual interprets or comprehends information that he comes by (Donald,M.(1991). This paper seeks to elucidate how culture provides a context for one or more aspects of cognition.
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Every culture has tools that are used to establish a person’s mindset. Examples of these tools are words, beliefs, computers, and books. At birth, an infant is exposed to words that begin sinking in as he grows. Words are used for communication between human beings, and with every word is pegged some meaning. Learning requires the art of listening, reading, and talking. Children learn very many words through listening. Words are used following a certain pattern that the children also adapt and connect to make meanings (Cole,M.,Gay J., Glick.J.A.,&D.W.(1971). They learn more words from listening than from abstract sources and definitions.
Cultural values do not only specify what should be thought about, but it also sheds light on what should be ignored (Donald. (1991), Another cognitive aspect that is a result of culture is intelligence. This is done by use of exams and test questions. These are tools that society uses so that intelligence is arrived at by looking at the difference in performance. A student with the highest marks is said to be the one who is more intelligent than the rest.
Their people use the pattern that has been used over time, using exams and tests, to be able to establish intelligence levels. The cultural aspect comes in where people use an external tool to differentiate the different levels of intelligence. The environment is ever-changing and is one prerequisite for the development of cognitive ability. Information in such a changing environment is on the increase as people try to fit in and be accommodated by the changes.
Cognitive ability can only take place where there is change and where there is a wealth of information. It, therefore, cannot exist in a fixed setting whose information is not much. The environment in which a person lives directly affects the cognitive aspect of the individual.
This knowledge would be useful to me in trying to understand why people behave as they do. I would know what factors to look at so as to make the right conclusion or give a suggestion of the plan of action, for instance, what changes need to be made in order to curtail vices in an individual. Human beings go through different emotions and also have many thoughts. These thoughts and emotions compel people to take some actions that may be good or bad.
Additionally, human beings have beliefs and have motives behind everything they do (Adam Morton., 2003). For example, a teenager may contemplate committing suicide because of a relationship gone sour or a mother thinking of procuring an abortion. I believe some of the bad things that occur can be prevented if people use the services of a psychologist and get important advice on handling issues. It also would help in the prevention of diseases associated with stress, in addition to understanding some mental illnesses and how to deal with victims of stress. Knowledge of why people behave the way they do would be beneficial to me because, as Adam puts it, I will be able to live in harmony with other people.
Adam Morton.(2003).The importance of being understood: Folk. Routledge.
Cole, M., Gay J., Glick. J.A .,& D.W.(1971).The cultural context of learning and thinking.New York.
Donald ,M. (1991). Origins of the modern mind; Three stages in the evolution of culture and cognition.Cambridge ,MA: Havard University Press.