Cognitive Modules or Evolutionary Stages? The Relationship between Developmental and Cross-Cultural Psychology

DOI: 10.14673/HE2016121015

Published in Human Evolution – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: Developmental/evolutionary psychology, cross-cultural-historical psychology,  ontogeny, psychological stages, children, premodern humans, social evolution, world history, modern societies.

Abstract

The founders of developmental psychology and psychoanaly-sis described resemblances between premodern adults and children. Theories based on these parallels were widespread mainly between 1840 and 1950. However, in the recent decades several authors from different disciplines have also contributed to this idea. This article examines the principal contributions to the debate over time and the conclusions drawn from empirical data. It provides an answer to the question: Do these similarities exist only between certain cognitive functions and embedded modules, or are they instead manifestations of psychological/evolutionary stages? While today many maintain that the  simi-larities between premodern adults and children of the modern age are primarily limited to cognitive structures, the arguments presented here suggest that such parallels encompass their en-tire psychological state.

Oesterdiekhoff, G.W.

Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, Department of Sociology,
PO Box 6980,
76128 Karlsruhe, Germany.
Phone: (+49) 2043 31116
E-mail: oesterdiekhoff@t-online.de

 

Sociological Functionalism or Developmental Psychology as a Theoretical Foundation to Ethnology? Radcliffe-Brown´s Analysis of the Andaman Islanders´ Religious Beliefs Revised

DOI: 10.14673/IJA2016121023

Published in Int. Journal of Anthropology – Vol. 31 – n.1-2 – 2016

Key words: developmental psychology, functionalism, religion, magic, animism.

Abstract

Radcliffe-Brown described the religious and magical beliefs of the Andaman Islanders, especially their rites regarding the daylight and the seasons, their god Biliku and the cicadas, his children. He emphasized that these beliefs are by no means irrational or childish but express important social values or social functions. His book on the Andaman Islanders was a central contribution to functionalism, a theory that objected to the previously prevailing evolutionary anthropology and related developmental approaches. This article resumes the study of the research data, showing that functionalism cannot explain the belief systems of the islanders. It demonstrates that the cognitive-developmental approach has all the tools necessary in order to be able to explain the magical-religious worldview not only of these islanders but also of the whole archaic world. Ethnology, or social anthropology, is required to study the cognitive-developmental approach in order to establish a superior theoretical foundation.

Oesterdiekhoff, G.W.

Karlsruhe Institute for Technology,

Department of Sociology,

PO Box 6980,

76128 Karlsruhe, Germany.

Phone: (+49) 2043 31116

E-mail: oesterdiekhoff@t-online.de

 

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