Dr. Nicola Knight died in June 2009 as this paper was in preparation.
Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Person-Body Reasoning: Experimental Evidence From the United Kingdom and Brazilian Amazon
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2011
Copyright © 2011 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 35, Issue 7, pages 1282–1304, September/October 2011
How to Cite
Cohen, E., Burdett, E., Knight, N. and Barrett, J. (2011), Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Person-Body Reasoning: Experimental Evidence From the United Kingdom and Brazilian Amazon. Cognitive Science, 35: 1282–1304. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01172.x
- Issue published online: 1 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2011
- Received 18 December 2009; received in revised form 30 October 2010; accepted 10 November 2010
- Cognitive anthropology;
We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. In a novel reasoning task, we found that participants across the two sample populations parsed a wide range of capacities similarly in terms of the capacities’ perceived anchoring to bodily function. Patterns of reasoning concerning the respective roles of physical and biological properties in sustaining various capacities did vary between sample populations, however. Further, the data challenge prior ad-hoc categorizations in the empirical literature on the developmental origins of and cognitive constraints on psycho-physical reasoning (e.g., in afterlife concepts). We suggest cross-culturally validated categories of “Body Dependent” and “Body Independent” items for future developmental and cross-cultural research in this emerging area.