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[Insert Secret Mantram Here]
Published 11/5/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
The book Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, edited by Deane H. Sapiro Jr. and  Roger N. Wallace, gives a short and sweet definition of transcendental meditation.  The book is rather dated (1984) so the literature review leaves something to be desired. read more ❯
Psych Out! Culture Shock
Published 11/5/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
While reading an article by Catherine Ann Lombard titled "Coping with anxiety and rebuilding identity:  a psychosynthesis approach to culture shock" I came across a citation for the book The Psychology of Culture Shock by Colleen Ward, Stephen Bochner, and Adrian Furnham.  It is quite obvious that this was a strong resource for Lombard's article.  The idea of the sojourner popped out at me directly.  The book is based strongly on discerning the ABCs of cross-cultural interactions. Some chapters of interest include "Theoretical approaches to culture shock" and "Stress, coping, and adjustment."  There's also a really neat table on pg 72 pulled from J.H. Berry (1997) that depicts a stress and coping framework.  There's also  a great bibliography in the back. read more ❯
Culture Shock: It begins with Students
Published 11/5/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents Around the World by Paul Pedersen is a good reference for the early approaches to culture shock.  I particularly like the history of the U- and W- curves.  These visual aids are given to most students in their per-orientation programs before they travel abroad.  I know I received one before I attended a fieldschool in Portugal.  The book notes that one criticism of these curves are their linear depictions of assimilation.  I would be curious to see if, having been introduced to stage models such as these before traveling, students feel an increase in the magnitude of culture shock for not matching the model. read more ❯
Stress and Diet in European Adolescents
If being in college has taught me anything about food, it's that stress-eating is a painfully real thing. I was so proud in April of my freshman year that I had successfully avoided the freshman fifteen. And then dead week and finals happened. When I found  European adolescents’ level of perceived stress is inversely related to their diet quality: the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study, my first thought was, "Duh." However, this study has some pretty interesting methodology and specific results. For one, this study has every single variable ever. Gender, amount of sleep, parental education, pubertal stage, BMI, and level of physical activity were all variables that were controlled for or not controlled for in certain situations, allowing for more specific results than just, "stress eating is a thing". Hierarchical Linear Models (HLMs) were used for this. The study found that in adolescents, higher levels of stress were correlated with more food... read more ❯
Vegetarians, Vegans, and What It's All About
The article The vegetarian option: varieties, conversions, motives and careers by Beardsworth and Keil may actually be the best source ever. It comes across as an almost mini-ethnography of vegetarians and vegans in a certain area of the UK, and has more information than I ever thought I would need. The most relevant background information for my proposal might not be in the results, but in the methodology. Beardsworth and Keil used what they referred to as the "snowball method" in which they gathered participants for their study by reaching out through the social groups of the vegetarians or vegans that were already signed up. They relied on the social groups of vegans and vegetarians to get participants! This makes my hypothesis sound way more plausible! Though this study was qualitative, Keil and Beardsworth developed and interesting scale from 1-6 which sort of measured how vegetarian a participant was. A type 1 vegetarian would occasionally eat... read more ❯
Taking It All in: Data and Eye Movement
Published 11/5/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Bryce Fry
After the details of the electrooculargram and seeing how difficult the results could be, this articular was a bit of a relief. Berger, Winkels, Lischke, and Höppner offer a program capable of analyzing the raw data of eye tracking in “GazeAlyze: A MATLAB toolbox for the analysis of eye movement data.” It was not any less detailed or methodical than the article about raw electrooculargraphy, but knowing that there is a program like GazeAlyze that works through MATLAB, a program available on a number of universities, including Alabama, made eye movement a more feasible experimental measure. This also opens up the possibility that researchers experienced in MATLAB would find the eye tracking data easy to read, or at least could become familiar with the analysis relatively easily. Beyond my personal relief, the authors note a few improvements that would be convenient for researchers and improve on previous software such as ILAB.... read more ❯
A Look at Eye Tracking
Published 11/5/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Bryce Fry
Although it tends toward the sci-fi side of tracking eye movement, particularly in it's discussion of “brain-to-machine interface (BMI),” the Fricke, Sobot, and Dounavis in their article “Analogue portable electrooculargram real-time processor” show that measuring eye movement is feasible on a small scale, opening the possibility of future applications. The authors looked at a simple electrooculargram with five electrodes: one centered on the forehead, two above either eyebrow to measure vertical movement, and two on the outside of either eye to measure horizontal movement. Although it would be difficult to determine exactly where someone is looking, this instrument should give enough information for the purposes of studying where students are looking in a classroom and what sort of stimuli they respond to, such as the teacher's gaze and emoting or material on the board. Ideally, five electrodes would not be too invasive or distracting for a period of about an hour,... read more ❯
Split Personalities: The Conflict Between Psychiatric and Anthropological Approaches to Dissociation
Published 11/4/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Angela Ray
Dissociation is something everyone is familiar with, but thinks of in different ways: movie plots about Dissociative Identity Disorder and amnesia, possession and trances stories in textbooks and online threads, that blocks of time unremembered from last Friday night, that daydreaming you’re already doing while you’re supposed to be reading this blog post. Anthropology and psychiatry also study dissociation in two different ways, but by not joining forces, they are hurting their own research. DISSOCIATION: AN OVERVIEW First, let’s consider dissociation. Seligman and Kirmeyer define it as, “a term used to describe both a set of behaviors and experiences involving functional alterations of memory, perception, and identity as well as the psycho-physiological processes presumed to underlie these phenomena.” Dissociation can range in severity, from highway hypnosis and daydreaming, to episodes of depersonalization, to full-blown amnesia or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Dissociation... read more ❯
The Different Colors of the Mind
Published 11/4/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Andrea Roulaine
  Dr. Rachel Brezis has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology and Cognitive Science which she obtained at Hebrew University. Dr. Brezis also has a MA and PhD in Comparative Human Development where she received both at the University of Chicago. Dr. Brezis is current position is at the Center for Culture and Health at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California in Los Angeles. Her main focus of research currently is Autism Spectrum Disorder in India and the United States. Dr. Brezis dissertation was titled: Social and Non-Social Memory in Adolescents with Autism: At the juncture of biological, cognitive and social development. Her research interests are in Autism; autobiographical, episode, and semantic memory; neuropsychology; MRI; adolescence; cultural psychology and cultural neuroscience; in Israel and India. Dr. Brezis also speaks French and Hebrew, along with English, of course.   To begin... read more ❯
Does perceived stress mediate the effect of cultural consonance on depression?
Published 11/4/2014 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author ajcallery
The chapter this week was all about stress and reminded me of one of our very own professors here at University of Alabama, Dr. Dressler. His work on cultural consonance and its connection in African Americans in Alabama and higher blood pressure levels is actually mentioned in the chapter we read. The chapter discussed how blood pressure and depression are some of the responses that occur from stressors. The article I decided to look at was “Does perceived stress mediate the effect of cultural consonance on depression?” In the article the researchers, Mauro Balieiro, Manoel Antônio dos Santos, José Ernesto dos Santos, and William Dressler were interested to see “does stress appraisal, as measured by the PSS, mediate the effects of cultural consonance on depressive symptoms? (Balieiro, Antônio dos Santos, Ernesto dos Santos , Dressler, 2011: 532).” In the article, the study takes place in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, looking at four... read more ❯
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