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Cultural Brain Group

We are a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Human cognition, and therefore the brain, is a product of both the cultural environment in which we are immersed and our genetic makeup. We explore how cultural inventions like written words, numbers, music, and belief systems shape the mind and brain from the beginning of our lives. Looking at the Literate Brain, the Predictive Brain, and the Multimodal Brain offers us a window into the culturally-shaped mind. Diverse groups, such as illiterates in India, young children, individuals with reading disorders and highly educated individuals take part in our studies. We use behavioural measures, functional and structural neuroimaging techniques, and computational modelling. In essence, we ask to what extent culture determines what it means to think as a human.