Japan Intercultural Institute
Episode 5 - Three Brains, Two Minds, and One Person

In this episode, hosts Yvonne van der Pol and Joseph Shaules reflect on a question they were asked during a Brain, Mind and Culture Masterclass: Where is culture in the brain? They say that there is no specific location for culture in the brain. To understand the way that culture shapes our minds, we need to remember: three brains, two minds, and one person. The three brains refer to brain structures that reflect our evolutionary past—the “reptile brain”, the “mammalian brain” and the “primate brain”. The two minds refers to the intuitive (fast thinking-pattern based) mind and the attentive (slow-thinking analytic). Despite the complexity of these cognitive systems, we experience it all simply as the self – one person. Yvonne tells a story of cross-cultural coaching—a German who feels that Dutch people interrupt too much! While the difference may be cultural, the irritation he felt was in his whole body!