Ecoculture, social interdependence and holistic cognition: Evidence from farming, fishing and herding communities in Turkey

Commun Integr Biol. 2008;1(1):40-1. doi: 10.4161/cib.1.1.6649.


It has been hypothesized that interdependent (versus independent) social orientations breed more holistic (versus analytic) cognitions. If so, farming and small-scale fishing, which require more cooperation (and represent a more interdependent mode of being) than does herding, may encourage a more holistic mode of cognition. To test this hypothesis we compared responses to tasks measuring categorization, reasoning and attention by members of herding, fishing and farming communities in the eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey. The samples did not differ from each other in important demographic variables such as nationality, ethnicity, language and religion, as well as age and education. As hypothesized, in all three tasks, results indicated a greater degree of holistic mode of cognition exhibited by the members of fishing and farming communities than members of herding communities. The findings support the notion that level of special interdependence fostered by ecocultural settings is likely to shape the ways in which individuals perceive and attend to their surrounding world.

Keywords: Black Sea; Turkey; farming; fishing; herding; holistic cognition; social interdependence.