When a child learns to tie her shoes —perhaps using the “bunny ears” method or the “squirrel and the tree” — her parents probably don’t think of the lesson as a moment of cultural reinforcement. But in the midst of a debate over culture and cognition, a group of five psychological scientists at Northwestern University’s MOSAIC lab noticed their shoe-tying methods were as diverse as the countries they represented. The lesson: Culture permeates nearly everything we do, even mundane routines that we think are neutral. For more on culture and science, read the April 2012 Presidential Column Everything is Cultural by APS President Douglas L. Medin.
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