Summer Institute for Cultural Neuroscience at Uni of Michigan


The Center for Culture, Mind and the Brain, CCMB, University of Michigan, will be hosting its first Summer Institute for Cultural Neuroscience in the second half of July 2010. The event has a line up of leading researchers on this field such as Shinobu Kitayama, host of the Institute and Director of the CCMB, Richard Nisbett, Shihui Han, Denise Park and Joan Chiao.

The topics that will be covered during the ten days include culture, self and the brain; culture, cognition and the brain; neuroeconomics, decision making and culture; and stereotyping, racial bias and brain processes.

While no anthropologist will be speaking at the Summer Institute, this program represents an important step toward the consolidation of research into the culture-brain nexus. For example, Joan Chiao was a wonderful presenter at our Encultured Brain conference back in October.

Applications for the Summer Institute are due March 1st, so jump on the opportunity if you want to go.

Click here for more information about the Summer Institute in Cultural Neuroscience.

And here is the link to the Center for Culture, Mind and the Brain.

Wednesday Round Up #104

So the favs, then a bunch of book reviews, and onto anthropology and the mind. Then some health, art and philosophy, and after you spend all day reading this stuff, why not finish it off with some alcohol and sex?

Top of the List

Sharon Begley, West Brain, East Brain
“What a difference culture makes.” Newsweek has a story on cultural neuroscience!

Chris Clark, Zooming in with Prezi
Prezi, a cool new presentation tool – an online version of Powerpoint that lets you zoom in and out and also embed YouTube and Flash animations. Looks both cool and useful!

Sarah, Would You Like to Kula?
Funny anthropology pick up lines.

BigThink, Oliver Sacks on Humans and Myth-Making
“Humans naturally create stories and narratives,” says Oliver Sacks in this video lecture.

Leslie Heywood, Gender Specs
An informed feminist takes on the evolutionary psychology approach to gender. So, what do women look for in a man? And what do men look for in a woman?

Joe Brewer, Belief and Worldview in Politics
Over at Cognitive Policy Works, an argument that what someone believes to be true is more important than what is actually true. How do our minds work? How do we view reality? These are the sort of questions addressed here, using an applied approach informed by cognitive science. Another interesting piece is Story Reversal: The Power of Frame Breaking, which includes a video.

Harvey Whitehouse, Four Recipes for Religion
Our Encultured Brain keynote presenter gives a nice summary of different types of organized religion. Discussion continues over at Cognition & Culture in the post, Religion Science: If you pay the piper, do you call the tune?

Book Reviews

Emily Bazelon, The Tiny Differences in the Littlest Brains
A review of the new book by Lise Eliot, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It. Looks like a very good neuroanthropology read on gender and the brain.

Continue reading

EvoS: Evolution, Addiction and the Encultured Brain


Two weeks ago I had a wonderful visit to EvoS, the Evolutionary Studies Program at Binghamton University. Leslie Heywood, a gifted writer and a true interdisciplinary scholar, invited me to Binghamton. She really enjoyed herself at our Encultured Brain conference, and wanted me to share my work with the EvoS program.

It was a very stimulating visit, and given their technology gurus there, I can share with you two key parts of it.

First there is the video of my lecture on Evolution, Behavior and the Encultured Brain. You don’t actually get to see me, however – you see my Powerpoint slides and hear my accompanying lecture. In the talk I cover a lot of my work on evolutionary theory and addiction, and then discuss how that work has lead me to neuroanthropology and how neuroanthropology works as a good complement to evolutionary biology.

I also took part in a podcast, where I got involved in a great discussion with students at Binghamton about my research on substance use and abuse in Colombia. So in the podcast I range more widely over my work, in particularly discussing some of the cultural anthropology work I have done. So you can also get the Daniel Lende podcast.

They also had a page providing a brief introduction to my talk, and there you can access the pdf of my Evolutionary Medicine and Health chapter “Evolution and Modern Behavioral Problems: The Case of Addiciton.”

Two by Four Stone Hearth


We’ve been a little lax about posting links to the great anthropology carnival Four Stone Hearth. So we’re going to take a swing at updating you about the last two editions.

A Very Remote Period Indeed hosted Four Stone Hearth #85: Cold Wind Edition. Amidst the January cold came archaeological delights like ancient pants and prehistoric footwear to keep you warm, as well as Melville Herskovits in the history of anthropology, the place of linguistic anthropology at the hearth, and much, much more.

Over at Testimony of the Spade we have Four Stone Hearth #86: Amazing Stories Edition. It’s worth a visit for the great covers from fantastical fiction. But you can also find musings on the paleolithic diet, a bronze age halberd, dance and trance, and once again, much, much more!

Link to Four Stone Hearth #85: Cold Wind Edition

Link to Four Stone Hearth #86: Amazing Stories Edition

Wednesday Round Up #103

I really like this round up – one of my better efforts of late, I think. Some great stuff up top, and then lots of good material on new media, social networking, gaming, etc. Then a neuroanth mash-up, followed by drugs, genetics, mental health, and of course chickens.

Top of the List

Emily Polis Gibson, Children’s Hospital Rotation
A powerful poem about attending to an anencephalic newborn, a baby without a brain. Written by a doctor in Washington State

Science Friday – Ira Flatow, Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall on studying chimpanzees, preserving habitats, and what lies ahead for the field of evolutionary science. I particularly liked her answers to people’s questions, including an adorable 13 year old girl, in the second half as she powerfully described how she moved from working on chimps to working for conservation and human development.

Research Digest Blog, Evidence-based Tips for Valentine’s
Miss out on Valentine’s Day? Well, better dig into the research on how to enhance your irresistibility

Desde el Manicomio, Adrian
Some beautiful and award-winning photos of an autistic child in his daily life

Reader Comments – NY Times, Comments on Bob Herbert’s Watching China Run
These reader recommended comments are some of the best critiques of US society and culture that I have read in a long time

Daniel Elkan, The Comedy Circuit: When your Brain Gets the Joke
Neuroimaging humor, with a look at why a joke is funny to some and not funny to others.

David Sloan Wilson, Economics and Evolution as Different Paradigms IV: The Limiting Factor of Cultural Evolution Is Not Origin But Spread
I had an illuminating conversation with David when I visited Binghamton University last week. He has really pushed evolutionary thinking into applied arenas, and here examines the intersection of cultural evolution and economics, with childhood education and risky adolescent behavior both discussed.

Tara Parker-Pope, As Girls Become Women, Sports Pay Dividends
Showing that sports participation has direct benefits for development with “ lifelong improvements to educational, work and health prospects”

New Media

Vaughan Bell, Don’t Touch That Dial!
I thought Facebook rotted my brain… right? Not so fast, says the master behind Mind Hacks, in this “history of media scares, from the printing press to Facebook”

Continue reading