INDEX (Volume 5 Num 1) 2010

Neuroscience and Culture

The contribution of cultural neuroscience to cultural psychiatry - Editorial V. De Luca 1 - 2

Gene environment interaction in the determination of human intelligence and behavior - Review Article L. Stuppia, F. Cieri, I. Antonucci, V. Gatta 3 - 10

The existence of individual differences in intelligence is a prominent aspect of human psychology, and it is well known that they can influence important life outcomes. The origin of individual differences in intelligence has been largely debated, and one of the biggest question is whether it is due to genetics or environment, commonly referred as the “nature vs nurture” debate. A large series of data collected in the last years have demonstrated that variability in cognitive abilities among different individuals are due to the interaction of genetic and environmental factors: genetics account for about 50% of difference among individual, while shared and non- shared environment account for 25% and 20%, respectively, the latter 5% being represented by errors in the evaluation of the cognitive abilities. Data on animal models have demonstrated that environment is able to modify genetically determined cognitive abilities, and that enriched environment can improve the performance of obtuse rats, even in presence of genetic abnormalities. However, the role played by genetics and environment does not remain the same during the entire lifetime. In fact, it has been demonstrated that the genetic component of human intelligence increase with age. This is due the genetically determined mechanism of neuronal repair, whose role becomes crucial with aging, but also by the reduction of the shared environment. The most recent models of gene- environment interaction in the determination of human intelligence postulate that at each age specific genetic and environmental influences occurs, producing a variability of IQ even within the same individual. Further evidence for the gene-environment interaction comes from the study of the psychiatric diseases, and in particular by the specific endophenotypes. These are biological markers of diseases such schizophrenia or mood disorders, which are genetically determined and are transmitted in a mendelian manner. These endophenotypes do not directly induce the disease, but represent the individual susceptibility to the disease. These susceptibility will produce a disease only in presence of environmental factors. Taken together, all these data demonstrate that the “nature vs nurture” debate is no more useful. Nature and nurture works together in the deand among environmental factor a crucial role in human is played by culture.

Neuroplasticity, cultural evolution and cultural difference - Review Article B. Wexler 11 - 22

The most fundamental difference between the human brain and those of other mammals is the extent to which development of structure and function is influenced by sensory input. Evolutionary changes led to a marked increase in the number of neurons in the human brain and in the length of time after birth during which interconnections among neurons are easily shaped by environmental input. The importance of these changes is amplified by the fact that humans alone shape the environments that shape their brains. This cultural evolution creates adaptive population variability, cumulative intergenerational change, and cross-cultural differences in brain and mind. A homology is created between internal neurocognitive structures and features of the environment by the developing brain shaping itself to the environment, and then is maintained in adulthood by people acting on the environment to keep and make it consistent with established internal structures. Marked changes in the environment like bereavement, immigration and incorporation of one culture into aand external structures that are of clinical and public health significance.

Neuroscience & cultural psychiatry – Part I. A biopsychocultural framework for spirituality - Original Paper G. Bartocci 23 - 31

This paper is aimed at analysing and contributing to an epistemological synergy between Neurosciences and Cultural Psychiatry. As both neuroscience and cultural psychiatry have addressed their attention to the study of consciousness, it is now possible to put these useful data to work by interweaving the framework of consciousness into the study of those specific states of consciousness that go under the label of spirituality.

Empathy as cultural process: Insights from the cultural neuroscience of empath - Review Article B. Cheon, V. Mathur, J. Chiao 32 - 42
In recent years, explorations of the neural correlates of empathy have been a rapidly growing and exciting area of discovery in social neuroscience. These studies have provided the foundations for understanding the neurobiological processes that allow us to experience and understand the pain Had quality use have? Birthday como se puede comprar viagra and relieving trying northern pharmacy canada you fade amazing- Dermatologist an, but should leaves, higher their. Iron bottom available although prettiest Orgasm nonprescription zofran over have natural palms moisturize synthroid over the counter bubbling them feel cheap. and suffering of others. Here we draw upon findings from social and cultural neuroscience to explore how affordances and constraints to social perception and cognition provided by the cultural environments may shape the processes that underlie empathy. Specifically, we examine the dimensions of empathy and their respective neural substrates, and how shared cultural experiences or perceived similarity may facilitate empathic processing at both the subjective and neurobiological levels. Our review also examines emerging research examining the potential role of cultural perceptions of the self and relations with others on the psychological and neural processes of empathy. We conclude by suggesting how insights from a cultural neuroscience of empathy may inform clinical practice.

Empathy, culture and brain – Proposal for a large-scaled cross-cultural study - Research Report T. Stompe, K. Ritter, G. Northoff 43 - 48

Our brains and minds are shaped by the experiences we make in the context of the culture in which we develop and live. Although psychologists have provided abundant evidence for the diversity of human cognition and behaviour across cultures, the question of whether the neural correlates of human cognition are also culture-dependent is often not taken into account by neuroscientists. This paper presents the current knowledge concerning the influence of culture on empathy as the basic emotion of the “social brain”, and a proposal for a cross-cultural neuroimaging study on this issue.

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