Brain, Culture, and Human Development


Cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors are largely socially transmitted. Parents teach their children (vertical transmission), older generations instruct the youth (oblique transmission), and friends shape friends (horizontal transmission). However, these lessons are not memes that are passed identically from one person to the next. Every individual person alters the lessons they learn. Some of these alterations may even be seen as pathological or maladapted to the culture.

Some of my research examines how culture is transmitted through social interactions and how individual people alter these lessons.

Suggested publications:

Crafa, D., & Nagel, S.K. (In press). Traces of culture: the feedback loop between brain, behavior, and disorder. Transcultural Psychiatry.

Crafa, D., & Nagel, S.K. (2018). The adaptive self: Culture and social flexibility in feedback networks. Commentary on Borsboom, Cramer and Kalis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41.

Crafa, D. (2017). Adapting Differently to Changing Contexts: Flexible Yet Atypical Neural and Behavioral Responses to Dynamic Social Contexts in Schizophrenia. (Doctoral Dissertation.) Epub in press.

Crafa, D., & Nagel, S.K. (2016). Representing human cultural and biological diversity in neuropsychiatry: Why and how. In Unity, Diversity and Culture (Eds. B. Voyer et al.). IACCP. ISBN: 978-0-9845627-5-6

Kärtner, J., Crafa, D., Chaudary, N., & Keller, H. (2016). Reactions to receiving a gift - Maternal scaffolding and cultural learning in Berlin and Delhi. Child Development, 87(3), 712-722. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12525

Crafa, D., & Nagel, S.K. (2014). Group differences in mental health: A role for culture in neuropsychiatry. WCPRR, 144-150.