The cultured brain: interplay of genes, brain, and culture

Farhan Ali and Trevor B. Penney

in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199541850
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The cultured brain: interplay of genes, brain, and culture


The brain is perhaps the most complex phenotype, but it is, nonetheless, plastic. It can be cultured evolutionarily and developmentally across genetic and neuroanatomical levels. This article provides a brief overview of how recent advances in molecular biology and genetics may be used to inform future cross-cultural psychological research. It discusses the interaction of genes and culture in shaping the brain and its functions, with specific reference to Chinese psychology. It further explains how one might begin to establish a genetically informed, cross-cultural psychology. It provides an understanding that how different populations and ethnic groups are related provides a context in which to test ideas about putative cultural differences in psychology and behaviour. Furthermore, in studies uncovering group relationships, a rough measure of time can be obtained, potentially providing information as to the rate of cultural and psychological change among human populations.

Keywords: complex phenotype; neuroanatomical levels; molecular biology; cross-cultural psychology; anthropological genetic evidence

Article.  3653 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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