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Discussion MAIN POST

After reading the Chiao & Blizinsky (2013) article, what were your main takeaways? How would you describe the field of cultural neuroscience? Please find another scholarly source that addresses this topic and share what you found with the class.


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This reading began with talking about how important mental health is in the world. The authors took a more financial stance on mental health, describing it as a financial burden on the globe. The authors then wrote that when people eliminate racial or ethnic minority health disparities, this also eliminates over $1 trillion within three years in the United States of indirect costs. However, one thing that is so important to understanding mental health in a world as diverse as ours is to understand the culture does make a difference.  When studying the social and biological mechanisms behind mental health disorders, one can infer that much progress was made regarding many disorders such as depression, addiction, and many more. The authors go on to state that most research has been done in Western countries and while this means that this mental health research is done with Western participants.
When it comes to sociocultural factors, there is an increase in exposure to hazards when in a lower social class. Those who have reduced exposure to these environmental hazards are known to have a higher resilience than those who don’t have those environmental buffers. One of these hazards includes exposure to negative stereotypes. If one has this exposure, then they may be more susceptible to mental illness. Those who have lower socioeconomic status are less likely to have access to quality healthcare and are at risk to be more vulnerable to illness both physical and mental.
Biological factors also take place and center around epigenetics.  These social experiences such as stereotyping and low socioeconomic class all show a difference in gene expression. This shows that experiences change one’s genetic expression, but also shape the neural pathways in social cognition.
Putting culture and genetics together, cultural neuroscience is born and works to integrate methods from anthropology, neuroscience, neurogenetics, and cultural psychology. Cultural neuroscience focuses on problems surrounding culture today. Scientists research these problems and provide solutions to overcome cultural challenges. Currently, cultural neuroscience works to address current issues regarding health disparities in the population. Recent advances show how neural pathways are connected to culture and beliefs.  Chiao and Blizinsky (2013) showed that Caucasians living in Japan had an increased amygdala response compared to those who are Japanese living in Japan. Asians who lived in Europe were seen to have an increases amygdala response compared to Europeans living in Europe. It is shown that the longer Asians stay in Europe, the lower the amygdala response becomes.
In the end, while many people may go through many different experiences, there is proof that when put in a place where one feels they do not belong geographically, there is a clear response in the brain. People are constantly changing neurologically and the effect that cultural neuroscience has on the world will be tremendous.
Chiao, J. Y., & Blizinsky, K. D. (2013). Population disparities in mental health: Insights from cultural neuroscience. American journal of public health, 103(S1), S122-S132.
Chiao, J., Hariri, A., Harada, T., Mano, Y., Sadato, N., Parrish, T., & Iidaka, T. (2010, June). Theory and methods in cultural neuroscience. Retrieved January 27, 2020, from

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