2010Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/19381
Enculturing Brains Through Patterned Practices
Recent findings in neuroscience have shown differential patterns in brain activity in response to similar stimuli and activities across cultural and social differences. This calls for a framework to understand how such differences may come to be implemented in brains and neurons. Based on strands of research in social anthropology, we argue that human practices are characterized by particular patterns, and that participating in these patterns orders how people perceive and act in particular group- and context-specific ways. This then leads to a particular patterning of neuronal processes that may be detected using e.g. brain imaging methods. We illustrate this through (a) a classical example of phoneme perception (b) recent work on performance in experimental game play. We then discuss these findings in the light of predictive models of brain function. We argue that a 'culture as patterned practices' approach obviates a rigid nature-culture distinction, avoids the problems involved in conceptualizing 'culture' as a homogenous grouping variable, and suggests that participating as a competent participant in particular practices may affect both the subjective (first person) experience and (third person) objective measures of behavior and brain activity.
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Published first as (erstmalig folgendermaßen erschienen): Andreas Roepstorff, Jörg Niewöhner, and Stefan Beck: “Enculturing Brains Through Patterned Practices”. In: Neural Networks 23.8–9 (2010), pages 1051–1059. DOI: 10.1016/j.neunet.2010.08.002