Cognitive schema as a mechanism of cultural experience translation Cover Image

Cognitive schema as a mechanism of cultural experience translation

Author(s): Volodymyr Sydorenko
Subject(s): Anthropology, Epistemology, Ethics / Practical Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind
Published by: Національна академія керівних кадрів культури і мистецтв
Keywords: cultural experience; translation; cognitive schema; cultural adaptation;

Summary/Abstract: In modern philosophical literature, especially by American authors the question of cognitive anthropology object is very controversial and accompanied with essential contradictions. In particular, many structures claim to be the "unit of culture. The basis of this field is research methodology of thinking and knowledge used for the formation of ideology and the influence of culture as general information array onto individual human cognitive system.Which exactly mental structures are responsible for the transmission of cultural experience, and therefore, the process of cultural adaptation? This entity is a cognitive schema. The theory of cognitive schemas is one of the most representative and significant trends in American philosophical anthropology of the late XX – early XXI century. The development of the theory of cognitive schemas in philosophical anthropology was backgrounded by the interpretation of culture as an information system, in definite way structured and organized.The progress of humanity in comparison with other biological species is explained through occupation of a specific "cognitive niche", which is survival mode by manipulating the environment and social interaction, based on the development of the capacity for abstract thinking and knowledge rather than physical perfection. The material world exists according to "thing" type, ideas – according to informational type, and the two systems can exist in both: biological and technical, that living organisms and instruments created by mankind. From this perspective, the question arises: if these two systems are really similar (and that technical systems replicate human is obvious, because they are designed to solve the problems facing humanity, paths created by man), is it possible on the contrary to organize the process of human adaptation under the simplified machine type: received information, processed it and passed? Of course, this approach is largely reductionist, but it helps to understand the basis of information principles of modern society and to analyze the mechanisms of adaptation of the individual to the global information array.Cognitive schema is a system of knowledge, a simplified structure of the world used for the reasoning of it. The main features of the schema should include the following: cultural conditioning – the bulk of the structure is the information generally applicable to the cultural group in which the individual is (including humanity as a whole as the largest such group); depending on the personal experience of the individual, because the schema is the product of creativity, unique and unrepeatable on one hand, but subordinate to general laws on the other; cognitive efficiency – the desire to obtain maximal efficiency with the least mental effort; automatism – the schema is implemented implicitly, unverbalizedly and instantly being not only and not so much a repository of information as the system of its processing and regulation of behavior, when absolutely automatic schemas got the name of "script", allowing to fully realize the above-mentioned principle of cognitive economy; hierarchical construction – simple schemas become the basis for more complex ones; presence within the schema of prototypes and stereotypes – mental images that reflect or summarize the typical properties of objects, letting them to be classified; resistance – the degree of schemas inclination to change under the influence of newly acquired experiences.By the direction of practical application cognitive schemas are divided into instrumental, social and linguistic ones, due to the need of building relationships with material objects of the external world (instrumental), society (social) and the expression of this relationships in the form of sign (linguistic).Basing on the above mentioned it can be concluded that culture, as dynamic informational structure determines the need to adapt cognitive structure of the individual to it; there are many similarities between biological and cultural adaptation, since the mind meets the general laws of evolution, while data trends may conflict due to restrictions imposed by culture on the biological nature of the individual; a person occupies a specific cognitive niche in the evolution of species, in which the main adaptive mechanism was the development of social, communicative and analytical skills; occupation of the mentioned cognitive niche became possible due to categorization of thinking, based on the functioning of specific mental structures – cognitive schemas, which are a mechanism of information processing and integration of data coming into already existing system of intercategoric relations, thus forming the outlook of individual.