Genes, Memes, Culture, and Mental Illness: Toward an Integrative Model
What produces mental illness: genes, environment, both, neither? The question has been asked in various forms, and answers debated, for many centuries. According to a groundbreaking new book, the answer can be found in memes—replicable units of information linking genes and environment in the memory and in culture—whose effects on individual brain development can be benign or toxic.
The latest work from pioneering psychiatrist Hoyle Leigh, Genes, Memes, Culture, and Mental Illness reconceptualizes mental disorders as products of stressful gene x meme interactions, and introduces a biopsychosocial template for meme-based diagnosis and treatment. A range of therapeutic modalities, both broad-spectrum (e.g., meditation) and specific (e.g., cognitive-behavioral), for countering negative memes and their replication are considered, as are possibilities for memetic prevention strategies. With characteristic depth and accessibility, the author:
•Outlines the roles of genes and memes in the evolution of the human brain.
•Elucidates the creation, storage, and evolution of memes within individual brains.
•Examines culture as a carrier and supplier of memes to the individual.
•Examines the exchange of memes between the individual and surrounding culture.
•Proposes mental health as a democracy of memes within individual brains.
•Provides specific examples of gene x meme interactions that can result in anxiety, depression, and other disorders.
•Proposes a multiaxial gene x meme model for diagnosing mental illness.
•Details broad-spectrum and specific meme-oriented treatment strategies.
•Identifies areas of meme-based prevention for at-risk children.
•Defines specific syndromes in terms of memetic symptoms, genetic/memetic development, and meme-based treatment.
For psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, physicians, medical students, and graduate students interested in culture and mental health and illness, Genes, Memes, Culture, and Mental Illness will enhance their theoretical knowledge and daily practice as well as stimulate new discussion on some of the most enduring issues in their fields.