Charting the course

“Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” - A. Hare

Everyone experiences happiness, anger, and grief through his/her life-time; however, the actual physical or social display of these emotions change among people, locations, and time. This research sets out to navigate and explore the world of emotions as cultural constructs which will open avenues to studying, and possibly understanding, the relationship between culture and cognition. Both the social and biological components shall be considered to develop a well-rounded approach to the topic that includes the emotional human in various contexts. Furthermore, “grief” and grieving practices will be the center focus of this research, although, other emotions will be included for support. Grief and grieving practices will be examined cross-culturally via ethnographies.

The ultimate goal of this academic voyage will be a contemplation upon the relationship between culture and cognition. That relationship will be investigated through articles, theories, and current research on the topic from various perspectives. The cross-cultural examination will serve as support beams in demonstrating the significant role culture plays in human development. Moreover, it helps understand that the concepts of meaning and self are culturally situated and organized. The biological mechanisms related to what we call emotions will be lightly explored also; in addition to the brain's functions during affective moments, a relatively new model for the interdependence between social cognition and emotions will also be provided. The overarching goal is to consider the link between culture and cognition. This project serves to stir thoughts and underline culture's importance for studying human cognition.

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