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date: 19 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Neuroanthropology seeks to bring the broadest possible account of cultural variation into our understanding of the human brain’s potential, expanding the methods we use to trace the envelope of human neurodiversity and the trajectories of neurological development to include robust qualitative and ethnographic methods in natural settings. My research has focused on athletes and other highly trained individuals who demonstrate both the range of activity-induced neuroplasticity and the characteristics of regimes under which this plasticity can be deployed in systematic ways. They also demonstrate how cultural expectations, daily activities, and aversions to activity can inculcate or exacerbate disability. Neuroimaging data may not always be available, especially given the whole-body nature of these activities in ecologically valid settings and the circumstances of anthropological field study. Nevertheless, neuroanthropology argues that neurologically plausible accounts of the abilities that our subjects demonstrate and the experiences that they report are both possible and theoretically productive.

Keywords: Neuroanthropology, neurodiversity, ethnography, development, neuroplasticity

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