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Research Methodology in Salivary Alpha Amylase Tests
Published 11/4/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Mindy Russo
Klein, L.C., et.al., "Caffeine and stress alter salivary alpha-amylase activity in men". Human Psychopharmacology. 25 (2010); 359-367 I found this research article to be incredibly helpful in my research proposal paper. One of the potential tests that my proposal discusses is the use of salivary alpha amylase (sAA) to measure the stress levels of individuals. It cites a few articles discussing how sAA can be changed based off of caffeine consumption.  In particular, I used this article because it had well-formed research methods and was a good guide for simulating similar tests. It has a good design model and it is easily and affordably reproducible. If anyone is looking  for a good guide for sAA methodology, I would recommend this article. read more ❯
Biomarkers
Published 11/4/2014 in The Schema
Author Greg Batchelder
In previous posts I have discussed the use of self-report questionnaires to measure aspects of health, for example stress and depression. In this post, I will describe two methods for measuring “biomarkers” which are characteristics that are objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of biological processes. As part of my research in the Bribri village of Yorkin, Costa Rica, I would like to measure health in the village in order to show that because of their initiation of an ecotourism project, which has allowed them to work in the village rather than in plantain and banana plantations, their overall health has improved. In order to accomplish this, I have chosen two biomarkers to examine health which are relatively easy to conduct in the field in minimally invasive. The first biomarker is blood pressure, which is one of the principal vital signs used in many healthcare settings. Blood pressure is... read more ❯
Artificial Paradise and Goats
Published 11/4/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Mindy Russo
The book Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise by Ronald K. Siegel, Ph.D., is an interesting read regarding various drugs and the biological desire for an altered state of consciousness. I used this particular piece of literature to understand the way that drug addiction occurs in populations. It includes a few evolutionary perspectives, as well as background history to many common drugs. Did you know that coffee was first discovered by goats? Or that cannabis was discovered by Sufi monks? It went a little bit into legal policy as well, and included several cross-cultural examples of drug use. read more ❯
The Psychosythesis Approach to Culture Shock
Published 11/4/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
Perhaps not as well known as his contemporaries Freud and Jung, Roberto Assagioli nevertheless left behind an impressive legacy in the form of psychosynthesis.  Lombard uses this approach in her 2014 article "Coping with Anxiety and Rebuilding Identity: A Psychosynthesis Approach to Culture Shock."  There are a couple things I like about this article.  Firstly, Lombard begins with a pretty good literature review on culture shock.   Lombard sees student sojourners  as a rapidly increasing population that is willfully engaging in different cultural contexts.   Secondly, the self-identification exercise is a unique form of therapy that complements the subpersonality model by allowing distance from "ties that bind" in order to get at the true "I," or what Lombard refers to as "the observer and director or all their subpersonalities" (10). In my opinion, while I can see how these two interventions may affect the ABC's of culture shock,  a psychosynthesis approach provides insight... read more ❯
Altering Consciousness
Published 11/3/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Mindy Russo
The book Altering Consciousness: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Volume 2: Biological and Psychological Perspectives) is an excellent source for anyone who may be interested in learning about how consciousness can be altered. For my research proposal, this was very relevant. It also goes into the history and mechanisms of action of various psychoactive drugs. It also provided a good base for biology of the nervous system. I highly recommend! Altering Consciousness has great information, as well as a ton of relevant research sited that could be used in the proposal, as well. It can be found on google books, amazon, and most likely the library. read more ❯
Culture Shock in the Olden Days
Published 11/3/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
"How Culture Shock Affects Communication," by LaRay Barna, was published in 1976 so I tried not to read too much into the theory behind his conceptualization of culture shock because it is embedded in the paradigm of the time, the psychology of activation which Lazarus disputed decades later.  Still, I found the list of different researchers' definitions of culture shock to be enlightening.  The world is more globalized now than it was 50 years and people are traveling more frequently for education or work.  To me, these facts seem to inhibit the recognition of culture shock as a condition.  Traveling might have been demystified, but culture shock persists, albeit in a more muddled definition. read more ❯
Body Awareness Versus Bodily Dissociation
Published 11/3/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
Price and Thompson, the authors of the 2007 article "Measuring Dimensions of Body Connection: Body Awareness and Bodily Dissociation," show that the Scale of Body Connection (SBC) is a particularly useful tool to use in measuring body dissociation in people who have experienced trauma. The SBC is a 20 question assessment of a person's psychophysical awareness.  The questions were based on common statements made in body therapy.  With a review of the clinical research, statements were assessed as being related either to body awareness or bodily dissociation.  First, 12 Nursing Science doctoral students were asked to evaluate the questionnaire rough draft.  Then, experts in fields associated with body therapy, trauma, and scale development were asked to approve the scale.  The sample size was 291 undergraduate students taking either a history or anthropology class.  The gender breakdown was 55% female, 45% male.  Most of the sample appeared Caucasian with an average age... read more ❯
The Impact of Early Life Stress on the Neurodevelopment of the Stress Response System
Published 11/3/2014 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author spcannon
  This weeks' reading revolved around stress on the human body. These blueprints to hormone level production, neuron response, and the neurological development was displayed in a case study by Aaron Kindsvatter and Anne Geroski. In this article entitled, “The Impact of Early Life Stress on the Neurodevelopment of the Stress Response System, they present a study with both an animal model and humans. This article is used to describe the functioning of the stress response system of the brain and to review literature pertaining to the impact of early life stress on the development of the stress response mechanisms. The primary mechanisms of the stress response system include the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary axis (SAM), the limbic system and the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA). The SAM axis involves direct connection between the norepinephrine center of the brain stem and the adrenal glands and is associated with the activation of the sympathetic branch of the... read more ❯
Dissociation: Who am I?
Published 11/3/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
While I enjoyed the very detailed and all-encompassing article "Dissociation in Trauma: A New Definition and Comparison with Previous Formulations" by Nijenhuis and Van der Hart, I can't help but feel that if I use parts of this article to draw parallels to a less dramatic phenomena, culture shock, it would be antithetical to the overall message of this article: that we need a new and specific definition of dissociation and that we need to stop muddling symptoms and disorders.  In other words, our classification itself has become a bit disordered.  Still, I think that the authors' take on personality and identity will be helpful in describing why a person may not 'feel like themselves' when finding themselves in a new cultural context.  To this end, yes, personality does seem to be a biopsychosocial system  that influences an individual's everyday mental and behavioral actions.  Inherent in this discussion of personality... read more ❯
Using Theory in a Clinical Setting
Published 11/3/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
In "Using Stress, Appraisal, and Coping Theories in Clinical Practice: Assessments of Coping Strategies After Disasters," Matthieu and Ivanoff (2006) utilize the transactional framework proposed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) among other theories to investigate the ways in which clinicians and researchers might understand individual stress and coping while also looking at the broader public health impact of a disaster.  The authors use the World Trade Center disaster of 9/11 to demonstrate the scales at which stress can manifest.  I found this article to be a good review of the coping processes, styles, and strategies people might employ to alleviate stress. read more ❯

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