What Is Neuroanthropology?
How brains and culture interact
Published on November 29, 2012 by Peter G. Stromberg, Ph.D. in Sex, Drugs, and Boredom
A new book called The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology by Daniel H. Lende and Greg Downey introduces a novel approach to my discipline of anthropology, and in fact I think this approach has relevance to all of the sciences that study human beings. As the name suggests, the gist of neuroanthropology is to study the interaction of human culture and human brains. Once one begins to do this, one of the oldest and most fruitless questions in the human sciences begins to dissolve. This question is: which is more important in determining human behavior, nature or nurture? As soon as one starts looking at how the brain interacts with culture, it becomes clear that it’s time to retire this question. What we need to try and understand is how nurture becomes nature and how nature is shaped by nurture.