Cultural inheritance


Cultural inheritance refers to the way humans pass on knowledge, behaviors, and skills from one generation to the next, which is not just influenced by biological heritage but also significantly shaped by the environment and learning. An interesting example of cultural inheritance relates to the interactions between a baby and their caregivers. Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett explains how the recognition of facial expressions, such as smiles, and the associated emotional responses are not solely hardwired by genetics but also significantly shaped through early learning and cultural transmission. From an early stage, infants begin learning from their environment, heavily influenced by the people around them who provide care. These early experiences with faces and expressions form the basis of future social interactions and emotions, embedded within the framework of cultural inheritance 1.

Another example is how the gut microbiome adapites according to dietary practices passed down through cultures. Dr. Justin Sonnenburg notes that certain populations have microbiomes capable of digesting foods common in their diet, like seaweed in Southeast Asia, due to adaptations in their gut microbiota's genetic makeup. These adaptations are an example of how cultural practices, such as diet, can influence biological processes over generations 2.

The Baby's Smile

Discover the fascinating relationship between a baby's smile and their brain's wiring to the world. Learn how cultural inheritance plays a role in recognizing faces and the importance of early learning in shaping our understanding of happiness.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett: How to Understand Emotions | Huberman Lab Podcast