Neuroanthropology is the study of the relationship between culture and the brain. This field explores how the brain gives rise to culture, how culture influences brain development, structure and function, and the pathways followed by the co-evolution of brain and culture. Moreover, neuroanthropologists consider 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, cognition, 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.
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