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Science & The Supernatural: A Discussion of the World Around us - Based on Science with an Interest in the Supernatural ...
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PostPosted: 26 Nov 2007, 16:16 
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Joined: 10 Sep 2007, 13:14
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Sorry I'm a little late jumping in, but life's been busy ...

At any rate, I wanted to throw out the general anthropological view on this. The way we tend to look at the phenomena of learning to navigate your world is based on three aspects that combine to make a 'cognitive map'.

First, 'object orientation' which is basically me and non-me objects as things in the world. Second, 'spatial orientation' which is where those me and non-me objects are in relation to each other in three-dimensional space.

These first two will combine to allow for our simple navigation of the physical world, that is crossing a room without running into the furniture within or hitting your head on the hanging lamps or plants.

The third is an intangible, the 'normative orientation', which is how we perceive and make sense of the other data, or rather, what we make of it. In here, we can take the simple relationship of objects and space and come to the conclusion that something sitting on the table in front of a specific person 'belongs to' that person because it's within their boundry of personal space. And, moreover, that if we go and grab it off the table, they're likely to smack us upside the head because we're not supposed to take what belongs to another. The normative gives us our percetions of morals, of cultural rules and interpretations of items, situations, and symbology.

Now, since we start with a tabula rasa as a child, we have to build all three of these into a system that works, and we slowly pull things together and make connections. (If you want to see this in action, check out Older women, Jojo, Part 1, Jojo, Part 2, Jojo, Part 3. The humor comes when kids give the 'wrong' answer - note that it works for them, but all us adults 'know' better.)

Now, the things that tend to imprint most strongly is where someone we trust (read parents, mentors, peers) informs us on a subject when we have no other data about the subject. In this case, our informer's information represents 100% of the data we have on the subject. It is recognized that in order to get to a level of self-sufficient functionality in a culture, we look to an age range between 10-16 depending on the culture. (Here you might note that it becomes the age when many people cease asking a lot of questions, and when those 'kids say the darnedest things' moments go from being humorous to being embarassing.) Now, this isn't to say that the individual here is not making personal observations of the subject, but that they are more likely to give discrepencies less weight as they already have an explaination and are focusing their attention on things that they don't have explainations for.

Often it's after this point that we see the individual finally putting together the bigger picture. Here, their experiences will start to have more weight in their categorical 'database'. Traumatic events will weigh more heavily than insignificant ones, but enough of the lesser weights will eventually build to a point where they can 'tip the scales' of understanding or viewing a phenomena.

This building of information continues throughout your lifetime, and, as such, your cognitive map is ever changing. But, after a certain point, a single event weighs so little against your cumulative database, that it makes little to no difference. Just as a benchmark, for Americans, by the age of (I believe) 35, the average person is unlikely to try (or like) new foods or new music, as their tastes in either are 'set' - they've built their databases and they stay withing the bounds of what they know.

Hence, we get the elderly who remember how much better things were in 'the good old days' when the 'bad stuff' of the present culture didn't happen, and things 'worked better'. :roll:

Anyhow ... See how that works for you ... You can 'set' yourself where-ever you'd like, but recognize that you might 'drift' a bit here or there as circumstances build and decline within your world. :)

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