Cole, Michael, 1938-. The cultural context of learning and thinking: an exploration in experimental anthropology

Table of Contents

Publication Information

One : Culture And Thinking

The Problem Of Many Disciplines


Primitive Mind

The New Ethnography


Linguistic Relativity And Linguistic Determinism

The Generative Tradition


The Impact Of Darwin

Developmental Psychology In The Evolutionary Mode

A Hiatus: 1910–1950

Contemporary Psychological Approaches To The Study Of Culture And Cognition

Toward An Experimental Anthropology

Two : An Unorthodox Ethnography


The Overall Design Of The Research

The Kpelle Background: Natural And Political

The Traditional Kpelle

Building A House

Specialists: The Blacksmith And The Medicine Man

Language And Traditional And Technological Activities

Social Interactions

The Encroachment Of Kwii Society: Schools And The Schoolchild

The School Environment

The Social Context Of The School

The Influences Of Education

Three : Classification


The Se Ŋ Chart: Classification Of “things”

Sentence Substitution

Free Association

Discussion Of Alternative Verbal-eliciting Techniques

A Detailed Look At Words Used In Experimentation

Free Association And The Experimental Terms: The Kpelle

Free Association And The Experimental Terms: The Americans

Kpelle And American Free-association Data Compared

Nonverbal Measures Of Classification


Similarity Mediation: Constrained Category Construction


Replication Of The Similarity-mediation Experiment With American Schoolchildren

Sorting Leaves


Four : Classification, Learning, And Memory

Verbal-concept Discrimination

Experiments Dealing With Se Ŋ Chart Organization

Experiments Contrasting Rule-based And Random Classes

Transfer Of Classes

Verbal Discrimination: The Twenty Clusterable Objects

Category Discrimination: Leaves

Learning And Memory: Free Recall

Introduction To The Problem


Measures Of Performance

Experiment 1: Are Clusterable Lists Easier To Learn Than Nonclusterable Ones?

Subjects And Procedures


Experiment 2: Do The Type Of Stimulus Materials And Manner In Which The Presentation Lists Are Organized Affect Recall?

Subjects And Procedures

Results And Discussion

American Free Recall

Summary Of The Preliminary Experiments

Experiment 3: The Effects Of Different Motivating Conditions On Recall Among The Kpelle

Experiment 4: Recall Among Nontraditional Kpelle Groups

What Produces Good Recall?

Experiment 5: The Identification Of To-be-remembered Items With External Objects: The Chairs Experiment

Experiment 6: The Effect Of Verbal Cuing On Recall


Experiment 7: The Effect Of Embedding To-be-recalled Material In Natural Verbal Contexts


Five : Classification And Learning Of Physical Attributes

Attribute Sorting:. The Classification Of Artificial Stimuli

Dimensional Preferences And Free Classification

Dimensional Preferences Measured By Other Techniques

Dimensional Preference?

Problems In Re-sorting And The Transfer Of A Discrimination

Basic Procedure: Discrimination Learning And Transfer

The Pseudoreversal Paradigm: Stimulus Dimensions Versus Response Patterning

Methods And Procedures


Standard Two-dimensional Discrimination-transfer Studies



Dimension Preferences, Concept Learning, And Learning To Learn

Six : Culture, Logic, And Thinking

Law Courts: A Sample Case

Malaŋ Game

Verbal Logical Problems

Group Discussions

Individual Testing


Linguistic Connectives And Conceptual Rules: Conjunction And Disjunction

Conjunction And Disjunction: Replicating American Procedures


Replication Of Basic Kendler And Kendler Procedures

An “ethnic” Replication Of Kendler And Kendler

Familiar And Unfamiliar Components

Seven : Conclusions

Ethnographic Concerns

Experimental Anthropology

“cultural Deprivation”—culture And Cognition American Style

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: The cultural context of learning and thinking: an exploration in experimental anthropology

Published By: Original publisher New York: Basic Books, Inc.. 1971. 20, 304 p., 9 plates ill., map

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication by Michael Cole, John Gay, Joseph A. Glick, and Donald W. Sharp in association with Thomas Ciborowski, Frederick Frankel, John Kellemu, and David F. Lancy

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2019. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Kpelle (FD06)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This document presents the results of intensive observation and experimental testing of Kpelle mathematical and logical skills. The research was stimulated by the idea of culture-specific abilities and tasks, and questioned the assumption that 'psychological tasks…evoke the same kinds of behaviors in subjects from different cultures' (pp. xii-xiii).

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 27

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fd06-027

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document no date

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Psychologists-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. M. A. Marcus ; 1986

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). not specified

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) not specified

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Kpelle (African people)


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