class="first">Neuroscience and the Dialectics of History
by Daniel Lord Smail
Análise Social vol. 47, no. 4: 894-909.
Historians, like all social scientists, must make assumptions about how the brain works. This essay suggests how some of the recent findings of the brain sciences might enhance our ability to understand or describe patterns or processes in the past. A key feature of the brain and nervous system is that they are open to developmental and epigenetic influences, meaning that cultural patterns can shape or influence brain structures, at least in the aggregate population. This essay sets out the theoretical basis for a neuroscientific approach to the past, and develops a case study based on the neurobiology of stress.
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