This is something I may be posting on at length later, but Gary Olson has written a post that says much of what I’d say, albeit in a different way:

It can’t be emphasized too strongly that all brains are basically alike, with the same equipment,but differing cultural experiences contribute to shaping our brains, to how we think,including how we think about empathy. Here I’m mindful not to caricature Donald Hebb’s rule that “The neurons that fire together wire together,” but his emphasis on the roles of repetition and synoptic plasticity draws our attention to the critical role of culture’s neurobiological imprinting.

Recent compelling research within cultural neuroscience demonstrates that specific, repetitive cultural priming has a measurable influence on the brain and this neural signature begins in early childhood. Tellingly, it can even override hardwired traits.

Olson says this in the context of a discussion of neoliberal ideology and the measured decline in empathy over the past four decades.  This is important stuff, and you should read it.

Admin Note: I’ve added Dissident Voice to the blogroll and purged the blogroll, mostly of blogs that aren’t posting any more.  My standards on this are pretty low, after all, I don’t post much, but folks who haven’t posted in over a year are gone.