Culture and Biology: The Foundation of Pathways of Development

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Abstract

This paper develops the argument that the relationship of biology and culture is systematic: evolved predispositions and learning devices allow individuals to acquire contextually relevant information to become competent in particular environments. It is proposed to synthesize evolutionary theory with cultural and indigenous approaches defining cultural contexts on the basis of shared practices and shared beliefs. Human development can be understood as a series of evolved developmental tasks that need to be solved locally to define adaptive life histories. Early parenting strategies are defined for two prototypical sociocultural contexts: rural farmers in traditional non-Western villages and urban Western middle-class families. Parenting strategies are supposed to lay the foundation during the brain imprint period of infancy for different developmental pathways of self-development.

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