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4 - Being There

Foundations, Theory, Method

from Section 1 - The Co-emergence of Culture, Mind, and Brain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2020

Laurence J. Kirmayer
Affiliation:
McGill University, Montréal
Carol M. Worthman
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
Shinobu Kitayama
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Robert Lemelson
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
Constance A. Cummings
Affiliation:
The Foundation for Psychocultural Research
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Summary

This chapter explores dual senses of “being there,” as existential fact and corollary method, and suggests some reasons why and how an ecological framework provides an effective approach to unpacking the culture–mind–brain nexus. First, an ecological analysis brings the lens of evolutionary design to bear on human biology (brain), function (mind), and behavior (culture). Second, it taps reliance of developmental processes on nested timelines of interaction with context that drive physical (body/brain), functional (mind), and behavioral (enculturation) development across the life course. Third, it hones in on conditions created by humans’ reliance on culture, thereby creating their own ecologies that, in turn, generate tremendous human diversity. Being there can also play a valuable research role. Three case studies explore that role in interaction with existing bodies of knowledge, major societal and scientific questions, and studies with novel human cultures and ecologies. They also sketch an arc of inquiry that integrates biomarkers and health outcomes with measures of psychosocial dynamics and life course development into population research embedded in community and cultural settings. A dialectical ecologically informed approach that fluidly deploys diverse modes of research may be particularly effective for tackling the large questions and challenges that humans confront.

Type
Chapter
Information
Culture, Mind, and Brain
Emerging Concepts, Models, and Applications
, pp. 120 - 158
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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