Ramesh Mishra, born in Uttar Pradesh, India, in 1952. Ph.D. from Allahabad University, India. Professor of Psychology at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
Fellow (1 September 2007 – 30 June 2008)
CULTURE AND COGNITION: LANGUAGE AND SPATIAL CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT
During my stay at NIAS, I worked on a monograph, “Eco-Cultural Pathways to Geocentric Spatial Language and Cognition”. In this book, co-authored with Pierre Dasen of the University of Geneva, I attempted to integrate more than a decade of my research on spatial cognition on which data had been collected from India, Nepal, Indonesia and Switzerland with samples of 4-14 children, schooled and unschooled, living in villages and cities, in the flat plains, and in the mountainous regions. My research demonstrates that in non-Western cultures children mainly use a geocentric spatial framework, whereas those in Switzerland use an egocentric spatial framework, and that the relationship between language and cognition is probabilistic, not deterministic, as claimed by the linguists. My work suggests an alternative pathway to human development not much known in the Western world, and signifies the need for research in different cultural settings to overcome ‘ethnocentrism’ in knowledge.