Discuss Cross-Cultural Studies into Perception.

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Perception development – cross cultural studies

If perceptual abilities are innate and a product of nature then we should expect similar perceptual abilities across different cultures with any differences highlighting a nurture playing a role.

Turnball completed research into depth perception. He found that a pygmy tribesman who was accustomed to the dense forest struggled with long differences. When he saw a buffalo in the distance he believed them to be insects because they appeared smaller in the distance. This suggests that the depth constancy are learned and his lack of experience let to his inability to use such cues for distance perception to interpret actual size. This shows the idea that depth perception is a learned process.

But, a problem with Turnball’s research is that it was a case study. We cannot then generalise one person’s findings to the wider population.

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However, further research on a larger sample base was conducted by Hudson who also found that perception was a learnt process. Hudson looked at Bantu, European and Indian children and were shown a drawing of a man with a spear, antelope and an elephant. They found that all children started primary school struggled with depth cues. However, by the end of primary school all European children were able to correctly understand depth cues. The Bantu children still struggled. This supports Tunball’s claim that perception is a learnt process.

Conflicting research was conducted by Gibson and Walk. They asked mothers ...

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