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Neuroanthropology is the study of culture and the brain. This field explores how new findings in the brain sciences help us understand the interactive effects of culture and biology on human development and behavior. In one way or another, neuroanthropologists ground their research and explanations in how the human brain develops, how it is structured and how it functions within the genetic and cultural limits of its biology (see Biogenetic Structuralism and related website).

“Neuroanthropology” is a broad term, intended to embrace all dimensions of human neural activity, including emotion, perception, cognitive, motor control, skill acquisition, and a range of other issues. Interests include the evolution of the hominid brain, cultural development and the brain, the biochemistry of the brain and alternative states of consciousness, human universals, how culture influences perception, how the brain structures experience, and so forth. In comparison to previous ways of doing psychological or cognitive anthropology, it remains open and heterogeneous, recognizing that not all brain systems function in the same way, so culture will not take hold of them in identical fashion.

Further reading Edit

  • Arbib, Michael A. (1989) The Metaphorical Brain 2: Neural Networks and Beyond. New York: Wiley.
  • Calvin, William H. (1989) The Cerebral Symphony. New York: Bantam.
  • Deacon, Terrence W. (1997) The Symbolic Species. New York: Norton.
  • Donald, Merlin (1991) Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Falk, Dean (1992) Braindance. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
  • Geary, David G. (2005) The Origin of Mind: Evolution of Brain, Cognition, and General Intelligence. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Harris, M., ed. (2007) Ways of Knowing: New Approaches in the Anthropology of Experience and Learning. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Jerison, H.J. and I. Jerison (1988) Intelligence and Evolutionary Biology. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
  • Laughlin, C.D., John McManus and E.G. d'Aquili (1990) Brain, Symbol and Experience: Toward a Neurophenomenology of Human Consciousness. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Marcus, Joseph A. (1997) "Neuroanthropology." In: Barfield, Thomas (ed.) The Dictionary of Anthropology, pp. 340-342. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Quartz, S.R. and T.J Sejnowzki (2003) Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are. New York: Harper Paperbacks.
  • Skoyles, John R. and Sagan, Dorion (2002) Up from Dragons: The Evolution of Human Intelligence." McGraw-Hill, New York, ISBN 0-07-137825-1
  • Winkelman, Michael (2000) Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

External links Edit


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