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Similarities and differences in concepts of mental life among adults and children in five cultures.

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

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Authors

Aulino, Felicity 

Abstract

How do concepts of mental life vary across cultures? By asking simple questions about humans, animals and other entities - for example, 'Do beetles get hungry? Remember things? Feel love?' - we reconstructed concepts of mental life from the bottom up among adults (N = 711) and children (ages 6-12 years, N = 693) in the USA, Ghana, Thailand, China and Vanuatu. This revealed a cross-cultural and developmental continuity: in all sites, among both adults and children, cognitive abilities travelled separately from bodily sensations, suggesting that a mind-body distinction is common across diverse cultures and present by middle childhood. Yet there were substantial cultural and developmental differences in the status of social-emotional abilities - as part of the body, part of the mind or a third category unto themselves. Such differences may have far-reaching social consequences, whereas the similarities identify aspects of human understanding that may be universal.

Description

Keywords

Adult, Child, Cognition, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Emotional Intelligence, Ethnopsychology, Female, Human Development, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical, Perception, Sensation, Social Behavior

Journal Title

Nat Hum Behav

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

2397-3374
2397-3374

Volume Title

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Rights

All rights reserved
Sponsorship
Templeton