There’s an interesting blog from the Foundation for Psychocultural Research. The mission statement for the Foundation for Psychocultural Research is found on this page. The statement is particularly interesting because the Foundation is supporting research which is at the ‘intersection of culture, neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry’. The blog can be navigated by scrolling down the page and clicking sequentially on the ‘Load More Posts’. This is a WordPress blog and although there aren’t chronological indices for the posts there are category indexes. There are some interesting Journal and Organisation links on the left hand side of the screen. Scrolling through the pages took a few minutes until reaching the first post which was dated September 2010. One of the most impressive features of the layout of this blog is the typography which is very effective in providing an aesthetic feel. There are few pictures or video inserts but this is more than made up by the typography. This effectiveness is achieved through a number of mechanisms – contrasting font colours, contrasting fonts emphasised with italics, headings, adequate letter spacing, and short paragraphs with clear structure.
The vast majority of the posts at the time of writing have been written by Dr Constance Cummings who is the director of the Foundation and a Doctor of theoretical linguistics. One of the great features of this blog are the regular news-roundups exemplified by this post. They are referred to as 3×5 as they cover Psychiatry, Culture and Neuroscience. Along a similar theme to the FPR (and indeed an offshoot of the FPR) in terms of integrating research in different areas is the Centre for Culture, Brain and Development. In this post there is a look at some of the graduates from this institute who have learnt mixed qualitative and quantitative research methodology and gone on to undertake research internationally. In this post there is a look at how a Stroke affected one artist’s work. There is also a very interesting post on an anthropological perspective on the Theory of Mind. There is also a look at the emerging discipline of Cultural Neuroscience.
One of the noticeable features of this blog is the variety of subject matter covered in the posts. This parallels the field of Psychiatry where the theoretical underpinnings traverse the biological, psychological and social domains. Can such complexity be organised into a coherent structure or narrative? Whilst it would be nice to have such coherence the mission of the FPR means that by definition it will need to bring together very diverse fields of research. In terms of Psychiatry, I tend to think that the complexity must be accepted for what it is and any tendency to reduce this complexity too far loses relevance. The fields of cultural neuroscience and anthropology face a similar balance between retaining complexity and being able to engage meaningfully with the subject matter. There are various methods to limit the complexity whilst still retaining relevance. Finally the future success of this mission will also have significance for research in Psychiatry as one of the mission statement aims.
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