Cultural Psychology Meets Evolutionary Psychology: Toward a New Role for Biology in the Study of Culture and Experience

  • Paul Voestermans
  • Cor Baerveldt


In this article we argue that evolutionary psychology’s study of culture in the framework of memetics and in terms of modules in the brain, supposedly designed in response to adaptive problems in the stone age, suffers from a few shortcomings. Therefore, the central issue of cultural psychology, that is understanding in psychological terms the patterning of behavior, remains untouched. First, the notion of causality, which is central to the Integrated Causal Model approach as an alternative to the Standard Social Science Model, is too narrowly defined. Second, the animal nature of the human species is presented in insufficient detail. The brain is cut loose from its embodied existence and treated as an isolated entity. Brains exist in the plural and develop in the intrinsically social group, as we argue. A more viable brain-approach to culture is called for. Enactivism, as the central tenet of this new approach, emphasizes the brain as an embodied control structure which operates in a community of experiencers.


Evolutionary Psychologist Human Species Human Group Evolutionary Stable Strategy Adaptive Problem 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Voestermans
    • 1
  • Cor Baerveldt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NijmegenThe Netherlands

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