Podcast: Nalini Ambady on Cultural Neuroscience

18 06 2013

In yesterday’s post I introduced a website run by her daughters and students, dedicated to helping professor Nalini Ambady find a bone marrow donor as soon as possible. Today I want to share with you an older podcast where professor Ambady talks about the emerging field of cultural neuroscience, a field she has helped found. In this 2010 interview she defines concepts, talks about how cultural norms and identities are shaped by the mind and brain and vice versa.  She also illustrates research findings and examples from her own lab. You can play or download the podcast over at neuroscene.

via Anne Egros at Zestnzen


Psychology for the Third Millennium: Integrating Cultural and Neuroscience Perspectives

7 05 2012

Psychology for the Third Millennium: Integrating Cultural and Neuroscience Perspectives

edited by Rom Harré and Fathali M. Moghaddam

Sage, 2012


As the 21st Century opened, the discipline of psychology seemed to be separating into two radically distinct domains. Qualitative and Cultural Psychology focused on the discursive means for the management of meaning in a world of norms, while Neuropsychology and Neuroscience focused on the investigation of brain processes. These two domains can be reconciled in a hybrid science that brings them together into a synthesis more powerful than anything psychologists have achieved before. For the first time, there is the possibility of a general psychology in which the biological and the cultural aspects of human life coalesce into a unitas multiplex, unity in diversity. This textbook ambitiously aims to and succeeds in providing this unity.

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Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience

4 05 2012

Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience
edited by  Suparna Choudhury and Jan Slaby

Wiley-Blackwell, 2012


Critical Neuroscience brings together multi-disciplinary scholars from around the world to explore key social, historical and philosophical studies of neuroscience, and to analyze the socio-cultural implications of recent advances in the field.

– explores the creative potential for engaging experimental neuroscience with social studies of neuroscience

– Furthers the dialogue between neuroscience and the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities

– Transcends traditional scepticism, introducing novel ideas about ‘how to be critical’ in and about science

– Features contributions from eminent scholars including Steven Rose, Joseph Dumit, Laurence Kirmayer, Shaun Gallagher, Fernando Vidal, Allan Young and Joan Chiao


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Cultural Neuroscience and the Politics of Alterity – Talk by Laurence J. Kirmayer

8 04 2011

Laurence J. Kirmayer gave a talk on cultural neuroscience and psychiatry last year that I have found very informative. In his talk, Kirmayer emphasizes that the brain needs to be understood as part of a larger social, cultural and political system. The talk was given on the 3rd of December 2010 at the “Talking Brains” conference at the “Einstein Forum” in Potsdam. In order to listen to the talk, link here, click on the play-button on the right side of the page and skip the intro (if you wish, since it is in German).

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The What, Why and How of Cultural Neuroscience – Part 2: Why Study Cultural Neuroscience?

6 02 2011

Why is cultural neuroscience important?

Last year, Henrich, Heine and Norenzayan published an article in Behavioral and Brain Science titled “The weirdest people in the world?” (I also highly recommend reading Greg Downey’s review and commentary on the article over at the old Neuroanthropology blog). One of the authors’ claims refers to how most of what we know today about the human mind and behavior is built upon research that examines disproportionately university undergraduates who come from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic countries: the “WEIRD” people. A similar point was made by Arnett in 2008, in the article “The neglected 95%: Why American psychology needs to become less American“. Read the rest of this entry »

Joan Chiao on Cultural Neuroscience and the Collective Good

1 02 2011

The Jepson School of Leadership Studies hosted The Jepson Colloquium “For the Greater Good of All: Perspectives on Individualism, Society and Leadership” during which, on January 23, 2010, Joan Chiao, presented “Cultural Neuroscience and the Collective Good.” During the talk, Chiao introduces the field, as well as concepts and methodologies and explains how cultural neuroscience findings can be applied.

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The What, Why and How of Cultural Neuroscience – Part 1: What is Cultural Neuroscience?

28 01 2011

What is Cultural Neuroscience?

The term “cultural neuroscience” was coined by Joan Chiao, a former graduate student of Nalini Ambady at Harvard University. It describes an emerging interdisciplinary field focused on investigating the multidirectional interactions between culture, mind, genes and the brain (Chiao & Ambady, 2007 in the Handbook of Cultural Psychology, edited by Kitayama and Cohen). The relationship is not assumed to be unidirectional because cultural practices adapt to neurobiological constraints on the one hand and human neurobiology adapts to cultural experience on the other (Ambady & Bharucha, 2009). Read the rest of this entry »