Chapter 4 When art has been approached from the psychological point
of view, four concepts have been central: perception, creativity,
personality and the psychological functions of art. The anthropological questions relating to these concepts have to do with
the ways in which perception, creativity, personality and
functions are similar in different cultural contexts, and the
ways in which they are specific to each cultural setting. Most of
the answers to these questions have so far been impressionistic
and conjectural, but there is gradually building up a body of
information by which we can test and reformulate the various
theories. However, by taking the comparative viewpoint, it
becomes necessary from the start to re-examine some assumptions and re-define some of the terms based on these
assumptions. The great emphasis on individuality and
progress in the cultural values of Western society has meant
that psychological questions have centeredon theartist, and on
innovation, but in cross-cultural perspective the questions are
Who? The Psychological Perspective
PerceptionA psychological question that has been asked that relates to
visual forms and modal personalities is whether visual productions are culturally distinct by virtue of the fact that things
appear different to different peoples, and what is the extent and
nature of these differences in perception. To do this, it is
important to distinguish between different meanings that have
been given to the word perception, which can mean:
|1) physiological perception -- perception in the narrow!
sense of' what sensory organs can and do respond to,|
|2) how people organize and describe these physiological
|3) what meanings they give to what they see.|
1. Perception in sense one, being a matter of physics and
physiology appear to be very much alike for all members of the
human species. Slight variations due to differences in experience with one kind of perceptive quality or another is
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Art as Culture:An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art.
Contributors: Evelyn Payne Hatcher - Author.
Publisher: Bergin & Garvey.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 85.
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