Career Development Theoriessee

WORK/CAREER/OCCUPATION, THEORIES OF.

CARPENTERED-WORLD HYPOTHESIS. This proposition recognizes and develops the idea that people living in urban, industrialized, and "built" environments (cf. the term carpentered environment - a "minimalist" environment consisting of straight lines, such as buildings of the "Bauhaus" era, based on the notion that "less is more") have a great deal of perceptual experience in judging various aspects of rectangular/manufactured objects (such as the lines, corners, edges, etc. of those objects) that influence their perceptions of the world. People in such modern, developed, or "carpentered" cultures, according to the carpentered-world hypothesis, are more susceptible to (i.e., are "fooled by") particular geometric illusions (e.g., such as the Muller-Lyer illusion which involves a straight line with arrow-heads on the ends either jutting toward or away from the per-ceiver and results in a misperception of the actual length of the line). On the other hand, people who live in primitive, undeveloped and unbuilt, or "non-carpentered" cultures and environments are less susceptible to (i.e., they are not "fooled by") such illusions. The rationale for such a "cultural-relativity" response is that those persons who live in "non-carpentered" cultures more frequently encounter natural, rounded, and non-angled objects where right angles and straight lines are relatively rare in their perceptual experiences. Such a phenomenon as the carpentered-world hypothesis underscores the importance of one's environment, culture, and cultural experiences in shaping one's perception of the world. Historically, in the early 1910s, psycho lo-gists in the school of Gestalt psychology proposed that perceptual processes are inborn - a viewpoint called the "nativist" position - and suggested that people everywhere, no matter what their background, perceive the world in the same way because they share in common the same "perceptual rules." Opposing the "nativist" position is the "empiricist" position, advocated by other psychologists, suggesting that people actively "construct" their perceptions of the world by relying on their previous learning and cultural experiences. Thus, the carpen-tered-world hypothesis supports the "empiricist" position in the psychology of perception; that is, one's perception is the result of an interaction between a stimulus and a perceiver shaped by previous experience, and people from very different cultural backgrounds may well perceive features of the world in different ways. See also CONSTRUCTIVIST THEORY OF PERCEPTION; GESTALT THEORY/LAWS; NATIVIST VERSUS EMPIRICIST THEORIES; UNCONSCIOUS INFERENCE, DOCTRINE OF. REFERENCES

Hudson, W. (1960). Pictorial depth perception in sub-cultural groups in Africa. Journal of Social Psychology, 52, 183-208. Segall, M. H., Campbell, D. T., & Herskovits, M. J. (1963). Cultural differences in the perception of geometric illusions. Science, 193, 769-771.

Deregowski, J. B. (1989). Real space and represented space: Cross-cultural perspectives. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 51-119.

CARTESIAN DUALISM. See LEARNING THEORIES/LAWS.

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