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30 - Affordances and Attention

Learning and Culture

from Part VI - Methods, Measures, and Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 February 2019

K. Ann Renninger
Affiliation:
Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania
Suzanne E. Hidi
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

In this chapter, we draw on Gibson's (1979) description of affordances to consider cultural differences in motivation and learning. We develop the argument that affordances are at the heart of cultural differences. We address the way culture influences both what and how people learn from the affordances that are available to them in their physical and social environments. Brain processes of neural plasticity and psychological learning mechanisms of repetition and connection drawn from the Unified Learning Model (Shell et al., 2010) are used to explain how our brain and memory store knowledge of affordances, as well as the actions needed to take advantage of these affordances. We then discuss the way attention sits at the intersection of motivation and learning, as well as how motivated attention leads to individual and cultural differences in knowledge and use of affordances, both implicitly and volitionally. Finally, the emergence of cultural differences in attention, learning, knowing, and motivation are discussed, with an emphasis on the impact of culture on learning in school.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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