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The Brain as a Cultural Artefact

  • Steven Mithen (a1) and Lawrence Parsons (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959774308000450
  • Published online: 01 October 2008
Abstract

Where does biology end and culture begin? While the human body is now widely accepted as being both biological and cultural, the brain is still considered by archaeologists as being a biological entity that provides the capacity for culture and is subject to no further change after the evolution of Homo sapiens. This article reviews recent research that suggests that the brain has continued to evolve at an increasing rate in recent times under the influence of culturally created environments and that both the anatomy and function of individual brains can be manipulated by cultural behaviour. It describes an experiment in which one of us successfully changed his own brain in response to his cultural activity.

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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
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