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Culture and Cognition

A collection of critical essays

Edited By Shamsul Haque and Elizabeth Sheppard

The past few decades have seen a huge increase in global interest in psychology, with more psychologists, psychology programmes and students than ever before. Culture and Cognition: A collection of critical essays is made up of chapters written by experts in each topic, and is aimed at those wishing to learn more about psychology. While culture and cognition have frequently been regarded as separate areas of study in psychology, this book brings together essays on both of these topics as well as several that consider the direct interplay between culture and thinking.
Essays focus on a range of fascinating topics, such as how culture affects memory for events in our own lives or our perceptions of human attractiveness. Essays also address a diverse range of psychological phenomena like déjà-vu, savant abilities, non-suicidal self-injury, theory of mind, problem gambling and sleep disorders. Socio-cultural and professional issues specifically within the Asian context are also discussed.
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What’s new in déjà vu?

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…it was even possible that none of what he thought had taken place, really had taken place, that he was dealing with an aberration of memory rather than of perception, that he never really had thought he had seen what he now thought he once did think he had seen, that his impression now that he once had thought so was merely the illusion of an illusion, and that he was only now imagining that he had ever once imagined seeing a naked man sitting in a tree at the cemetery.

Catch-22, Joseph Heller (1961, p. 309)

This essay outlines current research on the experience of déjà vu. After introducing déjà vu and presenting data on its incidence and character, two categories of explanations are discussed and evaluated. The first group of explanations posits that déjà vu arises from a similarity between the current and some previous situation. The second group posits that the experience results from aberrant neural processes and thus is not related to our current environment in any way. Next we look at what are perceived as two key areas of future research. A crucial question is whether there is only one type of déjà vu or whether there are several, with different causes and different characteristics. The answer to this question informs whether or not we can reconcile competing theories of déjà vu. Finally, we discuss the methodological difficulties faced by those studying déj...

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