Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do cultural differences determine outcome of our activities?

Date:
January 14, 2014
Source:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Summary:
A generally held assumption in various academic disciplines is that the way people perform various everyday activities – walking, swimming, carrying loads, etc. – is culturally determined. But, the question remains:do these cultural characteristics, when they affect various motor skills, also determine the results of people’s efforts?

A generally held assumption in various academic disciplines is that the way people perform various everyday activities -- walking, swimming, carrying loads, etc. -- is culturally determined. But, the question remains: do these cultural characteristics, when they affect various motor skills, also determine the results of people's efforts?

Related Articles


A study involving an original collaboration between archaeology, ethnology and human movement sciences indicates that different cultural approaches to various tasks do not necessarily produce different results. These findings, for example, represent a cautionary tale for archaeologists, demonstrating that the cultural identity of a social group cannot be reduced to the shape of a ceramic artefact. Therefore, the morphological (shape) analysis of ancient ceramics needs to be complemented with other analyses for material content and markings.

The study conducted by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and from France and Australia has been published in the American journal PLoS One. The researchers were Dr. Leore Grosman and Dr. Enore Gandon of the Computerized Archaeology Laboratory at the Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dr. Reinoud J. Bootsma of the Institute of Movement Sciences of the University of Aix-Marseille, France; and Dr. John A. Endler of the Center for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, Australia.

In their collaborative work, the researchers focused on pottery wheel-throwing in French and Indian cultural settings. Field experiments were set up with expert potters in workshops in central France (Bourgogne) and north India (Uttar Pradesh). All participants (nine French and six Indian) were invited to reproduce a common model shape (a sphere) with two different masses of clay.

The differing hand positions and movements used by the potters when shaping the pots were identified and recorded. In addition, the vessels produced were geometrically characterized as to their degree of similarity. As expected, results revealed a cultural influence on the operational aspects of the potters' motor skill. From the total of 62 different hand positions identified, 44% were culture-specific (only French or Indian) and only 27% were shared across cultures. Twenty-nine percent were individual.

In other words, most of the hand positions were cultural and the rest were either cross-cultural or individual. Yet, the large cultural differences in hand positions used did not give rise to noticeable differences in the shapes of the vessels produced. Hence, for the simple, spherical model selected, the culturally-specific motor traditions of the French and Indian potters gave rise to an equivalent outcome that was largely unified in shape.

In undertaking their novel approach, the researchers are convinced that they have opened up an innovative way to assess the cultural aspect of human motor skills, introducing in the process a cautionary note in addressing the characterization of these skills.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Enora Gandon, Reinoud J. Bootsma, John A. Endler, Leore Grosman. How Can Ten Fingers Shape a Pot? Evidence for Equivalent Function in Culturally Distinct Motor Skills. PLOS ONE, January 2014

Cite This Page:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Do cultural differences determine outcome of our activities?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114091709.htm>.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (2014, January 14). Do cultural differences determine outcome of our activities?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114091709.htm
Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Do cultural differences determine outcome of our activities?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114091709.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins