What does culture do to our brains? The Theuth effect: cultural adversity and cultural felicity

Abstract : My aim in this article is to present a new field of research, namely the Developmental Valence of Cultural Matrices (DVoCM) studies. The topic is what in cultural matrices limits (cultural adversity) or extends (cultural felicity) the optimal development of human cognitive abilities – a phenomenon termed Theuth effect. Cognitive abilities are broadly defined as information processing, whatever the information processing mode: by sensation and perception (including sensorimotor aptitudes), by emotions or by high-level mental abilities. In the first part, I provide several examples of the powerful effects of cultural matrices on brain structures and human cognitive abilities, I outline recent attempts of synthesizing them in terms of methodological approaches or theories, and I point out some of the major limits of these approaches. In the second part, I define the objectives of the DVoCM studies, and I describe the methods to be developed in order to promote research on the Theuth effect. I conclude arguing that the evaluation of the developmental valence of cultural matrices would enrich our knowledge of cultural diversity, and would be a valuable indicator of the overall wellbeing of human life forms.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01326773
Contributor : Joël Candau <>
Submitted on : Sunday, June 5, 2016 - 4:55:42 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 1:16:17 AM

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Joël Candau. What does culture do to our brains? The Theuth effect: cultural adversity and cultural felicity. 2016. ⟨halshs-01326773⟩

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