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Sawa Senzaki: Got Milk? Psychology lessons from dairy farming and human development

Elevator pitch

Humans need Culture, just like we need oxygen, water (and milk) to survive.


Culture refers to learning and participation in shared activities with other people. Activities vary widely – linguistic communication, social norms, eating habits, etc. Culture has interacted with human genetic evolution. For example, the gene enables humans to properly digest lactose in milk has evolved only about 9,000 years ago, when humans started farming. In this presentation, I will discuss how gene-culture coevolution shapes human development, including emotional, cognitive, and brain development.


Dr. Sawa Senzaki is an associate professor of Psychology at UWGB. Her research centers around the crossroads of cultural, developmental, and social psychology. With her students and collaborators, she is currently investigating cultural similarities and differences in children’s brain development, and how children learn skills to understand other people’s intentions and feelings through interactions with their caregivers. At UWGB, she teaches classes such as Cultural Psychology, Infancy and Early Childhood Development, and Parenting across Cultures. Dr. Senzaki is originally from Japan and moved to Superior, WI where she completed her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Art Therapy. She completed her Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Psychology at University of Alberta in Canada. At home, she enjoys raising two kids in multicultural and multilinguistic family

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