Advertisement

On the Neurodisciplines of Culture

  • Fernando Vidal
  • Francisco Ortega

Abstract

Since the 1990s, several disciplines have emerged at the interface between neuroscience and the sciences of cultures. Their goal is to understand both how the brain produces culture and how culture is inscribed in the brain. In this chapter we offer an overview of neuroanthropology and cultural neuroscience, the two main “neurodisciplines of culture.” We compare them to each other, relate them to the associated endeavors of cultural psychology and social neuroscience and explore the ways in which they may, and may not, be relevant for an understanding of culture.

References

  1. Ambady, Nalini, and Jamshed Bharucha. 2009. Culture and the Brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science 18 (6): 342–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ames, Daniel L., and Susan T. Fiske. 2010. Cultural Neuroscience. Asian Journal of Social Psychology 13: 72–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Begley, Sharon. 2010. West Brain, East Brain. What a Difference Culture Makes. Accessed 15 October 2014. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/02/17/west-brain-east-brain.html
  4. Blakemore, Sarah-Jayne. 2008. The Social Brain in Adolescence. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9: 267–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Callard, Felicity, and Des Fitzgerald. 2015. Rethinking Interdisciplinarity across the Social Sciences and Neurosciences. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheon, Bobby K., et al. 2013. Constraints, Catalysts and Coevolution in Cultural Neuroscience: Reply to Commentaries. Psychological Inquiry 24 (1): 71–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chiao, Joan Y., ed. 2009a. Cultural Neuroscience. Cultural Influences on Brain Function, Progress in Brain Research. Vol. 178. New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  8. ———., ed. 2009b. Cultural Neuroscience: A Once and Future Discipline. In Cultural Neuroscience. Cultural Influences on Brain Function, Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 178, 287–304. New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 2011. Cultural Neuroscience: Visualizing Culture-Gene Influences on Brain Function. In The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience, ed. Jean Decety and John T. Cacioppo, 742–761. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chiao, Joan Y., and Nalini Ambady. 2007. Cultural Neuroscience: Parsing Universality and Diversity Across Levels of Analysis. In Handbook of Cultural Psychology, ed. Shinobu Kitayama and Dov Cohen, 237–254. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  11. Chiao, Joan Y., and Katherine D. Blizinsky. 2010. Culture-Gene Coevolution of Individualism-Collectivism and the Serotonin Transporter Gene. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 529–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chiao, Joan Y., and Bobby K. Cheon. 2012. Cultural Neuroscience as Critical Neuroscience in Practice. In Choudhury and Slaby 2012a, 287–303.Google Scholar
  13. Chiao, Joan Y., et al. 2009. Neural Basis of Individualistic and Collectivistic Views of Self. Human Brain Mapping 30 (9): 2813–2820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ———. 2010. Theory and Methods in Cultural Neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 5 (2/3): 356–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 2013. Cultural Neuroscience: Progress and Promise. Psychological Inquiry 24 (1): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Choudhury, Suparna. 2010. Culturing Adolescence Brain: What Can Neuroscience Learn from Anthropology? Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 5 (2–3): 159–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Choudhury, Suparna, and Laurence J. Kirmayer. 2009. Cultural Neuroscience and Psychopathology: Prospects for Cultural Psychiatry. In Chiao 2009a, 263–383.Google Scholar
  18. Choudhury, Suparna, Saskia K. Nagel, and Jan Slaby. 2009. Critical Neuroscience: Linking Science and Society through Critical Practice. BioSocieties 4 (1): 61–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Choudhury, Suparna, and Jan Slaby, eds. 2012a. Critical Neuroscience. A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2012b. Introduction. Critical Neuroscience—Between Lifeworld and Laboratory. In Choudhury and Slaby 2012a, 1–26.Google Scholar
  21. Clifford, James. 1988. The Predicament of Culture. Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Cohen, Adam B. 2009. Many Forms of Culture. American Psychologist 6: 194–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Denkhaus, Ruth, and Mathias Bös. 2012. How Cultural is Cultural Neuroscience? Some Comments on an Emerging Research Paradigm. BioSocieties 7 (4): 433–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Domínguez Duque, Juan F. 2012. Neuroanthropology and the Dialectical Imperative. Anthropological Theory 12 (1): 5–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ———. 2015. Toward a Neuroanthropology of Ethics: Introduction. In Handbook of Neuroethics, ed. Jens Clausen and Neil Levy, 289–298. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Domínguez Duque, Juan F., et al. 2009. The Brain in Culture and Culture in the Brain: A Review of Core Issues in Neuroanthropology. In Chiao 2009a, 43–64.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 2010. Neuroanthropology: A Humanistic Science for the Study of the Culture–Brain Nexus. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 5 (2–3): 138–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Downey, Greg. 2012a. Neuroanthropology. In The SAGE Handbook of Social Anthropology, ed. Richard Fardon et al., vol. 2, 243–260. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ———. 2012b. Culture Variation in Rugby Skills: A Preliminary Neuroanthropological Report. Annals of Anthropological Practice 36 (1): 26–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. ———. 2012c. Balancing across Cultures: Equilibrium in Capoeira. In Lende and Downey 2012a, 169–194.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 2016. Sensory Enculturation and Neuroanthropology: The Case of Human Echolocation. In The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Neuroscience, ed. Joan Y. Chiao, Shu-Chen Li, Rebecca Seligman, and Robert Turner, 41–55. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Downey, Greg, and Daniel H. Lende. 2012. Neuroanthropology and the Encultured Brain. In Lende and Downey 2012a, 23–66.Google Scholar
  33. Eagleton, Terry. 2000. The Idea of Culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  34. Fitzgerald, Des, and Felicity Callard. 2014. Social Science and Neuroscience beyond Interdisciplinarity: Experimental Entanglements. Theory, Culture & Society 32 (1): 3–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Fitzgerald, Des, et al. 2014. Ambivalence, Equivocation and the Politics of Experimental Knowledge: A Transdisciplinary Neuroscience Encounter. Social Studies of Science. doi: 10.1177/0306312714531473.
  36. Freeman, Jonathan B. 2013. Within-Cultural Variation and the Scope of Cultural Neuroscience. Psychological Inquiry 24: 26–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gallagher, Shaun, and Dan Zahavi. 2008. The Phenomenological Mind: An Introduction to Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Gupta, Akhil, and James Ferguson. 1992. Beyond ‘Culture’: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference. Cultural Anthropology 7: 6–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Han, Shihui, and Yina Ma. 2014. Cultural Differences in Human Brain Activity: A Quantitative Meta-Analysis. NeuroImage 99: 293–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Han, Shihui, and Georg Northoff. 2008. Culture-Sensitive Neural Substrates of Human Cognition: A Transcultural Neuroimaging Approach. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9: 646–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Han, Shihui, and Ernst Pöppel, eds. 2011. Culture and Neural Frames of Cognition and Communication. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  42. Han, Shihui, et al. 2013. A Cultural Neuroscience Approach to the Biosocial Nature of the Human Brain. Annual Review of Psychology 64: 335–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hansen, Helena, and Mary E. Skinner. 2012. From White Bullets to Black Markets and Greened Medicine: The Neuroeconomics and Neuroracial Politics of Opioid Pharmaceuticals. Annals of Anthropological Practice 36 (1): 167–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Heinz, Andreas, et al. 2014. The Uncanny Return of the Race Concept. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, art. 836. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00836.
  45. Hyde, Luke W., et al. 2015. Cultural Neuroscience: New Directions as the Field Matures. What Do Cultural Neuroscience Findings Mean? Culture and Brain 3: 75–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kelley, William M., et al. 2002. Finding the Self? An Event-Related fMRI Study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 14: 785–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kim, Heejung S., and Joni Y. Sasaki. 2014. Cultural Neuroscience: Biology of the Mind in Cultural Contexts. Annual Review of Psychology 65: 487–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kitayama, Shinobu, and Sarah Huff. 2015. Cultural Neuroscience: Connecting Culture, Brain, and Genes. In Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, ed. Robert Scott and Stephan Kosslyn, 1–16. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0062.Google Scholar
  49. Kitayama, Shinobu, and Jiyoung Park. 2010. Cultural Neuroscience of the Self: Understanding the Social Grounding of the Brain. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 5 (2–3): 111–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kroeber, Alfred L., and Clyde K. Kluckhohn. 1952. Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  51. Lende, Daniel H., and Greg Downey, eds. 2012a. The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  52. ———. 2012b. The Encultured Brain—Toward the Future. In The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology, 391–419. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  53. Levine, Timothy R., et al. 2003. Self-Construal Scales Lack Validity. Human Communication Research 29 (2): 210–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Littlefield, Melissa M., and Jenell Johnson. 2012. The Neuroscientific Turn: Transdisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Littlefield, Melissa M., et al. 2014. Contextualizing Neuro-Collaborations: Reflections on a Transdisciplinary fMRI Lie Detection Experiment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00149.
  56. Marcus, Joseph A. 1997. Neuroanthropology. In The Dictionary of Anthropology, ed. Thomas Barfield, 340–342. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  57. Martinez Mateo, Marina, et al. 2012. Concerns about Cultural Neuroscience. A Critical Analysis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 36 (1): 152–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. ———. 2013. Essentializing the Binary Self: Individualism and Collectivism in Cultural Neuroscience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7: 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Meloni, Maurizio. 2013. Biology without Biologism: Social Theory in a Postgenomic Age. Sociology. doi: 10.1177/0038038513501944.
  60. ———. 2014. How Biology Became Social, and What It Means for Social Theory. The Sociological Review 62 (3): 593–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ng, Sik Hung, et al. 2010. Dynamic Bicultural Brains: fMRI Study of Their Flexible Neural Representation of Self and Significant Others in Response to Culture Primes. Asian Journal of Social Psychology 13 (2): 83–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ng, Brandon W., James P. Morris, and Shigehiro Oishi. 2013. Cultural Neuroscience: The Current State of Affairs. Psychological Inquiry 24: 53–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Noë, Alva. 2009. Out of Our Heads. Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
  64. Northoff, Georg. 2013. What is Culture? Culture is Context-Dependence! Culture and Brain 1 (2–4): 77–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ortega, Francisco, and Fernando Vidal, eds. 2011. Neurocultures. Glimpses into an Expanding Universe. Frankfurt and New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  66. Painter, Neil I. 2010. The History of White People. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  67. Ray, Rebecca D., et al. 2010. Interdependent Self-Construal and Neural Representations of Self and Mother. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 5: 318–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Roepstorff, Andreas. 2011. Culture: A Site of Relativist Energy in the Cognitive Sciences. Common Knowledge 17: 37–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Roepstorff, Andreas, and Chris Frith. 2012. Neuroanthropology or Simply Anthropology? Going Experimental as Method, as Object of Study, and As Research Aesthetic. Anthropological Theory 12 (1): 101–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Roepstorff, Aandreas, and Kai Vogeley. 2009. Contextualising Culture and Social Cognition. Trends in Cognitive Science 13: 511–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sahlins, Marshall. 2000. Sentimental Pessimism and Ethnographic Experience; or Why Culture is not a Disappearing Object. In Biographies of Scientific Objects, ed. Lorraine Daston, 158–202. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  72. Scheper-Hugues, Nancy. 1984. The Margaret Mead Controversy: Culture, Biology and Anthropological Inquiry. Human Organization 43 (1): 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Schleim, Stephan, and Jonathan P. Roiser. 2009. fMRI in Translation: The Challenges Facing Real-World Applications. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 3: 63. doi: 10.3389/neuro.09.063.2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Shweder, Richard A. 1991. Thinking through Culture. In Expeditions in Cultural Psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Tylor, Edward. 1871. Primitive Culture. Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Custom. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  76. Vidal, Fernando. 2011. La neuroesthétique, un esthétisme scientiste. Revue d’histoire des sciences humaines 25: 239–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vidal, Fernando, and Francisco Ortega. 2012. Are there Neural Correlates of Depression? In Choudhury and Slaby 2012a, 345–366.Google Scholar
  78. ———. 2017. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject. New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wajman, Jose Roberto, et al. 2015. Culture as a Variable in Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology: A Comprehensive Review. Dementia & Neuropsychologia 9 (3): 203–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Williams, Raymond. 1985. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Rev. ed. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  81. Zhang, Li, Ying Zhu, and Shihui Han. 2011. The Relation Between the Self and Others: A Transcultural Neuroimaging Approach. In Culture and Neural Frames of Cognition and Communication, ed. S. Han and E. Pöppel, 77–91. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zhu, Ying, and Shihui Han. 2008. Cultural Differences in the Self: From Philosophy to Psychology and Neuroscience. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 2 (5): 1799–1811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zhu, Ying, et al. 2007. Neural Basis of Cultural Influence on Self-Representation. NeuroImage 34: 1310–1316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Vidal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francisco Ortega
    • 3
  1. 1.ICREA (Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.State University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

Personalised recommendations