Psychology Study Material: Significant Influences on Cognition

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Significant Influences on Cognition

Socio- Cultural Factor

Given and debated in the early 1900s socio-cultural approach has now regained interest among cognitive scientists.

Socio- Cultural Factor
  • It states that cognitive ability does not start with the anatomy/biology of the individual or only with the environment: the culture and society into which the individual is born provide the most important resources/clues for human cognitive development.
  • They provide the context into which the individual begins his experience of the world.
  • Social groups help in person՚s cognitive development by placing value/importance on learning certain skills, thereby providing all important motivation that the person needs and requires in order to learn and exhibit those skills or behaviours. This results in cognitive development
  • One perspective about cognitive ability suggest that there is some sort of innate potential existing within an individual
  • Another suggests that there is potential within the socio- cultural context for development of the individual.
  • The individual is born into a society of potential intellect. Knowledge will develop largely based on the evolution of intellect within the society and culture.

Social Nature of Mind

  • Beside other psychological functions, the most important and influential is the interaction between individuals.
  • In the beginning, the child has no means of understanding/expressing or communicating his experiences. But as time passes, the teachings of parents and other family members enable a child to understand the world in which he lives. Knowledge is considered to be the experiences and the values that parents/caregivers pass on to their off springs. It reflects their particular social and cultural norms and standards, which are incorporated in their understanding of their culture.

Language and Cognitive Ability

  • The main and most important tool in acquiring cognitions in any culture is its language through which an organized body of knowledge is transmitted as “cognitive abilities” . By learning the language, the child is able to share knowledge and experiences with the people he interacts with.
  • Early learning takes place through internalizing and interpreting the world.
  • Afterwards, the child is able to use those internalized skills such as language that have been taught to him by his parents, culture, or society. It further on helps him to think and function independently
  • Language, including its written form, is the unifying tool for any culture. As language starts to develops, so do the social norms, cultural beliefs, and values.

Motivation, Cognition and Learning

  • It is believed that cognitive ability alone cannot account for achievement; motivation is also important in acquiring/attaining cognitive skills and abilities.
  • People learn information that corresponds to, and is in accordance with, their view of the world. They learn skills that are meaningful to them. e. g. children who are born in a poor family may not give any attention or importance to the formal education and as adults, they may pass on similar beliefs and attitudes to their off springs.
  • Motivation determines whether or not one is capable of learning. Whether one learns well or not, depends on one՚s own view and that affects the ability to learn. The motivational condition largely depends on the way the culture responds to achievements and failures. There are culturally developed attitudes about the probability of learning successfully after one has initially failed to learn. These attitudes can greatly affect future learning.

The Individual and the Group

  • These factors also influence the extent or direction of development.
  • The culture of the individual, the community, the neighbourhood, social organizations, and the family, all influence the experience of the individual. But these experiences have a certain uniqueness of their own and they may be perceived and viewed differently by different people.

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