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Using a cognitive architecture for addressing the question of cognitive universals in cross-cultural psychology: the example of awalé

Gobet, Fernand (2009) Using a cognitive architecture for addressing the question of cognitive universals in cross-cultural psychology: the example of awalé. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40 (4). 627 - 648. ISSN 0022-0221

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0022022109335186

Abstract

A central theme in cross-cultural psychology is the extent to which cognitive mechanisms are universal, or, alternatively, are specific to a given culture. A new way to tackle this question is proposed: to use the same cognitive architecture, implemented as a computer program, for simulating phenomena in which individuals from different cultures perform a task familiar to their own culture. The CHREST architecture has simulated a number of empirical phenomena related to the Western board game of chess. Here, we show that a model implemented in the same architecture accounts for several phenomena in awalé, a board game from the mancala family, which is commonly played in western Africa and in the Caribbean. CHREST first learns chunks by scanning expert-level games and then is placed in memory experiments and problem-solving situations similar to those used with human youngsters. The model replicates empirical phenomena on memory for awalé positions reasonably well, although not perfectly, and also learns to play a fair, but far from perfect game using pattern recognition. The assumptions that learning is mediated by the acquisition of a large number of chunks and that the capacity of visual short-term memory is limited to three chunks are important in explaining the empirical data for the two games. The implications for theory development in cross-cultural psychology are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/jcc
Additional Information: © 2009 The Author
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2019 00:24
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 07:10
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/102875

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