The Biocultural Research Institute, Inc. is a not for profit educational organization registered in the state of Florida. The mission of the Institute is to research, present, and interpret the biocultural structures of humankind through seminars, lectures, and scholarly publications. The directors of the Institute hold advanced degrees in philosophy, psychology, social science, humanities, and medicine. This ensures the multi disciplinary scope of the organization.
The foundation of the Biocultural Research Institute is the Biocultural Paradigm as discovered by Dr. Maria Colavito. The Paradigm was created to assuage the nature/nurture dichotomy so prevalent in current models of human sciences, and to assess the correlations between individual human predilections as based upon early brain development in children and emerging cultural trends.
The Habits of Mind Model of education as developed by Dr. Antonio T. de Nicolas (in his book by the same title), is the foundation of the Biocultural Research Institute's educational projects. This model was developed and taught in the Philosophy of Education course at SUNY Stony Brook for nearly two decades. The Institute also offers research and training opportunities in Biocultural Philosophy-an applied philosophy degree developed for practitioners in the human services professions as well as professionals in the Humanities who desire credentials in the field of philosophical or educational counseling.
In the field of anthropology, directors of the Institute have participated with the Union of International Associations, a United Nations Project, in researching issues related to cultural autonomy and preservation. These references can be accessed through the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, edited by Anthony Judge. Other scholarly publications using the biocultural paradigm have appeared in the field of biomedical ethics and anthropology. These references may be accessed in the Library section of this site.
Psychology and Philosophical Practice: In 1996, the Biocultural Research Institute opened a private clinic in Madrid, Spain for children and their families. To date, the Instituto de Integracion Biocultural has treated several hundred families using the Biocultural Assessment Model and educational training program. The Biocultural Research Institute is affiliated with the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, and the directors of the Institute are Certified Philosophical Practitioners.
The nature/nurture controversy, sometimes known as the evolution/environment controversy, seems to have trickled down into the information systems of the vernacular world as an unfortunate rift between dueling scholarly camps. In one camp, the nature/evolution camp, lie those scholars whose research on the forefront of neurobiological discoveries have led to amazing revelations about the biological origins of many of our "human" characteristics. In the other camp, the nurture/environment camp, lie those scholars whose research on the forefront of sociological discoveries have led to amazing revelations about the sociological origins of many of our "human" characteristics. The glaring negative implications of wholeheartedly ingesting the evolutionary model seem obvious. Where do these evolutionary "discoveries" place our time-honored beliefs in human freedom, will, choice, individuality and the like? What of "original sin", moral judgement, reward and punishment, not to mention the "work and you too shall succeed" tenet? Finally, does accepting this evolutionary model, at root, mean accepting that we, as humans, are basically composed merely of deterministic, unconscious quanta? While few of us would truly espouse these coldly deterministic conclusions, most would also aver that accepting the basic tenets of the proponents of the environmental paradigm wholeheartedly likewise smacks at the face of reason, especially in a society that prides itself on state-of-the-art scientific discoveries as its primary criterion of superiority.
The Biocultural Paradigm is offered as a model that transcends both the nature and the nurture camps by recognizing the neurobiological origins of human development AND by deliniating exactly how sociological influences and when sociological influences can and cannot affect those neurobiological invariants.
Utilizing existing discoveries in evolutionary neurobiology and Selection Theory, the scientific basis of the Biocultural Paradigm is established. This Paradigm is composed of five proto-cultural models ("biocultures") which correspond to the five evolutionary centers of our neurological structures; our five "brains". They are:
Each bioculture, then, is formed by the cultural manifestation of the primacy of one neural function over the others. While, initially, it is through individual human development that choices are made as to the primacy of certain neurological traits over others; eventually,(through the habitual repetition of the primacy of certain neurological links at the expense of others), these individual traits become societal ones; thus forming the Socio-biological basis for the Biocultural Paradigm.
The sociological evidence for the Biocultural Paradigm is founded primarily upon socio-linguistic grounds, by analyzing the relationships between the literary remnants of certain cultures and their corresponding social, political and religious structures. The literary evidence is examined as it elucidates a neural map of cortical activity (thereby offering clues as to the biocultural slant of the group), while the social, political and religious systems are examined for evidence of neurological predispositions that manifest externally as cultural substitution systems. In other words, the Biocultural Paradigm examines both the apparent structure of external, societal "reality" and the structure of internal, cortical "reality"; the reasons why and how the internal reality CREATES the external one, and why and how studying the external reality (the nurture/environment data) without first understanding the workings and limitations of the internal reality (the nature/evolutionary data) can oftentimes lead to biased results.