From Vera Keller, “The ‘new world of sciences’: The temporality of the research agenda and the unending ambitions of science” http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/669047
I’ve come across a lot of interesting material about pain –how we process our own pain experiences as all as those of others – and now the topic is so sadly present in the news. Here’s a quick roundup to keep track of some of the issues being considered/discussed/investigated, e.g., our “deep,” or embodied, ability to simulate others’ pain; the neural overlap between physical and social pain experiences; the frequent (clinical) cultural de-medicalization of patients’ descriptions of pain; and the tensions or paradox of pain experiences (from a philosophical perspective). Overall, we have an extraordinary capacity to feel others pain and to lighten it; it’s likely that our best selves emerge in this process. Continue reading
Excellent review of STS/anthropologist Joseph Dumit’s Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke University Press) by philosopher Sergio Sismondo (Queen’s University).
The concept of mental illness in the West is largely shaped by the DSM diagnostic model. The DSM categorization of psychiatric disorders has been useful in driving research, and psychiatric neuroscience has made enormous strides in identifying some of the brain-based factors that contribute to mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, as well as suggesting possible drug therapies. Continue reading
I am vicariously enjoying the fact that Angela Woods (@literarti), who did such a phenomenal job tweeting and then storifying our conference (which Lance Gravlee updated), is en route to “Experimental Entanglements in Cognitive Neuroscience” meeting in Berlin (25–26 Oct 2012/ #EECN / About / Abstracts (with a previous 10/3 entry of useful references). This workshop will address some of the tacit assumptions (as well as researcher-experimental subject interactions) of cognitive neuroscience that our conference peripherally covered in the opening session and in some of the talks.
DSM: The History,Theory, and Politics of Diagnosis
CALL FOR PAPERS
History & Philosophy of Psychology Section
25-27 March 2013
University of Surrey, Guildford
Keynote Speaker: Professor Ian Parker
2013 marks the 40-year anniversary of the vote by the members of the American Psychiatric Association to remove ‘homosexuality’ from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). 2013 is also the publication date of the fifth edition of the DSM.
Read the original article.
Strange or just plain weird? Cultural variation in mental illness
By Dominic Murphy, University of Sydney
MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition.
See full interviews with Cornelia Bargmann, Winfried Denk, and Ann Graybiel in Nature Reviews Neuroscience (October 2012).
Cornelia Bargmann (Rockefeller University)
We’re asking whether there might be a logic underlying the incredible diversity of animal behaviours, perhaps at the level of genes and circuits. For example, are there conserved biological systems that organize higher-order behaviours, by analogy to the biological conservation that applies to molecular and cellular processes? Do internal states or emotions like hunger, fear or arousal have a straightforward biological basis in neuroanatomy and neurochemistry, or are they the result of ad hoc assemblies of multiple components? How do new behaviours evolve? Are there certain genes and mechanisms that are predisposed to generate new behavioural variations and, if so, how do they work?
Winfried Denk (Max Planck Institute for Medical Research)
Again, my interest lies in the development of tools that I perceive as being useful for a whole range of questions in neurobiology. Knowing the wiring diagram is ultimately necessary, although not necessarily sufficient, for all of systems (circuit?) neuroscience. More specifically, there are things to finish in the retina, and my laboratory is currently working to finish an inner-plexiform connectome. Then it’s on towards developing a whole-mouse-brain microtome.
Ann Graybiel (MIT)
Thanks to the ingenuity of people inventing new methods for working on the brain, we are in the midst of a revolution in which we have the chance to discover functional circuits in the brain and how they relate to behaviour, and to examine the dynamics of neural signalling at different time scales and in different frequency domains. In the field of basal ganglia research, we are just at the beginning of this adventure; for us, understanding the interactions of these deep-forebrain systems with the neocortex and with other functional systems is a primary goal. There are also many questions about the relationship between neural signalling and behaviour, not the least being the state changes that somehow occur between our doing things with conscious intent and doing things nearly automatically. Of course, in our specific workspace, we would like to understand the compartmental architecture of the striatum in functional terms. We have been guessing for a long time!
Just received an alert for the online publication of the following paper in Ann Rev Psych, which is co-authored by three of our conference presenters:
A Cultural Neuroscience Approach to the Biosocial Nature of the Human Brain by Shihui Han, Georg Northoff, Kai Vogeley, Bruce Wexler, Shinobu Kitayama, and Michael Varnum
Cultural neuroscience (CN) is an interdisciplinary field that investigates the relationship between culture (e.g., value and belief systems and practices shared by groups) and human brain functions.