Magazine
Latest Issue

It’s not all hardwired

Neuroscience is making bold claims about human culture—but should we trust them?

By Henrietta Moore   March 2010

Detail of Location 23.02.05 by Susan Aldworth, acrylic ink and graphite We often imagine the brain as a sort of high-powered, superbly engineered evolutionary computer. But it is actually a wonderfully baroque structure, made up of incompletely integrated units. And despite what we might assume about what we are born with, our brains are more shaped by interaction with the world than we think.

We have long tried to solve the mystery of what makes us human by looking at our heads. Franz Joseph Gall, the German physician who developed phrenology, argued that “brain organs” controlled everything from…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect