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  • Cited by 7
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: July 2009

1 - Prologue: Biocultural Co-Constructivism as a Theoretical Metascript

Summary

The main objective of this book is to advance research and theory in the study of brain–culture relationships. Contentwise, our primary arena is the study of human behavior, in general, and human development, in particular. When speaking of human development, we refer to the view that human development is a lifelong process, extending from conception into old age. When we speak of culture in this context, we use it in its most general sense and mean to include all aspects of the environment – physical, material, social, and symbolic.

On the one hand, we note the already existing and recently strengthened connections between researchers and scholars in the neuro, behavioral, social, and cultural sciences that give testimony to a new level of “interdisiplinarity.” It is increasingly recognized that such collaborative work, aimed at a more explicit treatment of the brain–culture interface, is necessary to better understand the interactive systems that shape the human mind and its development.

On the other hand, we also suggest that there are lacunae or misunderstandings in recognizing the full reciprocal nature of the brain–culture interaction. One example is the occasionally high emphasis that brain researchers place on brain determinism. A similar one-sidedness exists among some social scientists when they engage themselves in demonstrating the exclusive role of social-cultural environmental conditions. To counteract such lacunae or one-sided perspectives, we introduce a new “metatheoretical” paradigm as a guiding principle. This is the principle of developmental biocultural co-constructivism.

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