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Language as Key to Perceptual Diversity

An interdisciplinary approach to the senses.

About the project

This project is funded by Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Science Research, and runs 2016-21. It involves researchers from five partner universities from across Europe. Dr Peter Sercombe is Co-Investigator.

The project explores human perception. This is a field in which recent research hints at considerable but still poorly understood variation across human languages and cultures. To this end, the project brings together a unique and highly qualified team representing:

  • linguistics
  • cognitive psychology
  • geoscience
  • history of religion

The team investigates the language of perception in three diverse Language Observatories.

Combining well-established methods with novel ones, the research focuses on two fundamental and interrelated arenas of perception: landscape and ritual. Acknowledging that language provides a window on both cognition and culture, the project bridges the gap between psychological and cultural approaches to the senses. The results will speak to a wide audience of perception specialists in different fields, as well as the general public.