uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Can we be epigenetically proactive?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics.
2015 (English)In: Open MIND / [ed] Thomas Metzinger & Jennifer M. Windt, Barbara Wengler Foundation , 2015Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

 The human brain is an essentially evaluative organ endowed with reward systems

engaged in learning and memory as well as in higher evaluative tendencies. Our

innate species-specific, neuronally-based identity disposes us to develop universal

evaluative tendencies, such as self-interest, control-orientation, dissociation, selective

sympathy, empathy, and xenophobia. The combination of these tendencies

may place us in a predicament. Our neuronal identity makes us social, but also

individualistic and self-projective, with an emotional and intellectual engagement

that is far more narrowly focused in space and time than the effects of our actions.

However, synaptic epigenesis theories of cultural and social imprinting on our

brain architecture suggest that there is a possibility of culturally influencing

these predispositions. In an analysis of epigenesis by selective stabilisation of

synapses, I discuss the relationships between genotype and brain phenotype: the

paradox of non-linear evolution between genome and brain complexity; the selection

of cultural circuits in the brain during development; and the genesis and epigenetic

transmission of cultural imprints. I proceed to discuss the combinatorial

explosion of brain representations, and the channelling of behaviour through “epigenetic

rules” and top-down control of decision-making. In neurobiological terms,

these “rules” are viewed as acquired patterns of connections (scaffoldings), hypothetically

stored in frontal cortex long-term memory, which frame the genesis of

novel representations and regulate decision-making in a top-down manner.

Against that background I propose the possibility of being epigenetically proactive,

and adapting our social structures, in both the short and the long term, to benefit,

influence, and constructively interact with the ever-developing neuronal architecture

of our brains.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Barbara Wengler Foundation , 2015.
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-244713DOI: 10.15502/9783958571037ISBN: ISBN: 978-3-95857-102-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-244713DiVA: diva2:789786
Available from: 2015-02-20 Created: 2015-02-20 Last updated: 2015-02-20

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full texthttp://www.open-mind.net
By organisation
Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 235 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link