“The Himba people of Namibia can see fine details and ignore distraction much better than most other human beings – a finding that may reflect the many ways that modern life is changing our minds and abilities”
By: David Robson
Published: BBC, 7 March 2017, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170306-the-astonishing-focus-of-namibias-nomads
Level of difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
Learn about the Himba tribe:
1. Check out these photos of Opuwo: https://www.google.com.tr/search?q=oPUWO&espv=2&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiGuL3hwtXSAhUIlxoKHdL2B80QsAQINA&biw=1024&bih=662&dpr=1 If the Himba opt for a change of lifestyle, they will be obliged to…
2. What makes the Himba ideal subjects when studying how modern life changed our minds is the fact that….
3. WHR Rivers discovered that people from more primitive societies seem to differ from Western societies in their in their perception of….. The above finding was significant in that it suggested that…...
5. It is implied in the text that the Himba or The Toda would have been fooled by the illusion if……………This is due to the fact that…
6. We understand from the text Before Davidoff, the subjects chosen for experiments were representative samples / were not representative samples.
7. In an experiment seeking to discover the effects of the modern world on our perceptions the subjects need to be…
8. Davidoff was irresponsible /non-judgmental / culturally sensitive / experimental / inconsistent in his approach to the Himba. Select as many as fit.
9. What does “The Phenomenon” at the beginning of the paragraph refer to?
10. We understand from the text that the Himba can focus and ignore interference because they are not a modern society /they need to do it in their everyday lives / they are nomadic people / they depend on it in order to survive/ they raise cattle /. Mark as many as fit
11. The comparison of Himba living in Opuwa and those living a traditional life style clearly demonstrates a link between……………………..and…………………..
12. We understand from the text that the reason for the change that takes place in how we perceive our environments in urban area is due to all the cars in the cities /the character of the environment / the number of buildings in cities/ all the city lights/ the enormous number of people in cities.
13. One reason for the loss of focus and susceptibility to distraction in cities could be………………………………
14. Based on what you have read in the text, what is the vision of people living in Turkish society like?
15. Why do you think Turkish Shepherds are less holistic? Refer back to the whole text and use your own words.
Discuss the factors that affect how we perceive the world.
THE ASTONISHING VISION AND FOCUS OF NAMIBIA’S NOMADS KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
Anthropology and sociology texts are always fascinating and this is one such text. Being a scientific text, it allows for good inferential questions which should challenge the students.
1. To cope with all the novelties and new sensations (of modern life)
2. The Himba had mostly avoided contact with modern culture, quietly continuing their traditional life
3. The lines in the Muller-Lyer illusion
4. Even the most basic aspects of our perception are shaped by our culture and surroundings (The relative clause is a non-defining clause and can therefore be skipped)
5. They spent more time indoors; their brains would have learnt to process the carpentered corners rapidly
6. Were not representative samples
7. The absolute counterpoint to our modern, urban lifestyles
8. Non-judgmental, culturally sensitive
9. The fact that the traditional Himba were far less susceptible than those of us living in modern societies to the Ebbinghouse illusion.
10. They need to do it in their everyday lives, they depend on it in order to survive
11. Susceptibility to the Ebbinghouse illusion and living in a town
12. The character of the environment
13. The stress of urban life
14. They tend to focus more on the context of a social situation and (they also tend to pay more attention to the backgrounds of pictures;) they are more holistic and less analytical
15. Possible answer:Because they resemble the Himba in that they have to look after their cattle and sheep on their own