Sensory enculturation and neuroanthropology: the case of human echolocation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford handbook of cultural neuroscience
EditorsJoan Y. Chiao, Shu-Chen Li, Rebecca Seligman, Robert Turner
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780199357376
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameOxford Library of Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Neuroanthropology
  • echolocation
  • sensory substitution
  • neurodiversity
  • ethnography
  • development
  • neuroplasticity


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