by Janae Hunter
In this article, Lynn and his colleagues attempt to talk about educating undergraduate students about neuroanthropology. One of the main issues brought up is the oversimplification of certain topics which can sometimes lead to misunderstanding. One example the authors used to illustrate this point is the display of horse evolution. Lynn and his colleagues discuss Holley’s (2009) approach of teaching neuroanthropology with an interdisciplinary approach. They used The Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG) here at the University to break down the Holley’s approach. Through the HBERG, Lynn was able to teach student neuroanthropology through a hands on learning experience. The students were able to conduct two research projects: The Religious Ecology Study and the Fireside Relaxation Study. The Religious Ecology Study gave students a chance to combine cultural anthropology and field experience. In this project the students were immersed in the church culture in Tuscaloosa and in Costa Rica in order to better understand how the church functions and how to conduct field studies. In this study the students had to record their findings in workbooks. The Fireside Relaxation Study incorporated more of the neuroscience aspect, by trying to test the relaxing effects of fire. The students monitored the blood pressure, heart rate, skin conductance and prefrontal cortical brain activity of the subject’s while they were presented with different recordings of fire with and without sound. This blend of lab techniques and field studies is important to teaching and understanding the practice of neuroanthropology.
I think this article is great for expressing how to teach undergraduate student neuroanthropology, but it doesn’t really add anything to our understanding of neuroanthropology as a discipline. I loved how the article broke down Holley’s interdisciplinary approach to teaching neuroanthropology, because it involves such a hands on approach. During the reading, I had a few questions: