Cultural Network Analysis: Mapping Cultural Theories of Mind


People’s ability to interact with members of other cultures is determined, in part, by their understanding of the folk psychological theories that explain behavior in those cultures. A comprehensive methodology is offered here for investigating such folk theories. It attempts to characterize the distribution of mental models within a cultural group. A network representation is used to depict the consensus elements (and level of consensus) in a cultural group’s knowledge within a domain. The method is general with respect to knowledge domain, though the emphasis here is on folk theories of mind. The methodology is illustrated with two studies directed at Afghan explanations of an Afghan Mullah’s decision making in a well-defined context.

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