Support Anthropology in Florida Petition
A University of South Florida undergraduate, Rachael Tackett, has put together a change.org petition, Support Anthropology in Florida. This petition will go to Florida Gov. Rick Scott after he singled out anthropology as not needed in the state last month.
Anthropology is vital to Florida’s economic growth. Archaeology, a discipline of Anthropology, trains Floridians to curate and research historical sites that attract tourists to the state; Florida’s tourism industry is worth over $57billion dollars a year. Companies such as Intel, Microsoft, and Google hire Anthropologists, because Anthropologists are able to make products and services better. Having more Anthropologists will help to create more skilled jobs in the state.
For more information, you can visit the Support Anthropology in Florida website.
International Cultural Neuroscience Consortium
There is a new consortium in town, and it is getting all those aspiring cultural neuroscientists and many others together! They have a registration form you can fill out, so go check it out.
The goal of the ICNC is to build an interdisciplinary, international research network in cultural neuroscience.
In the next few years, we look forward to developing working groups, offer travel grants for speakers and students at conferences as well as an online website to connect researchers from interdisciplinary communities and facilitate collaborations in cultural neuroscience to study population health disparities and public policy in global context.
Behavioral Genomics & Neuroscience Job at the University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is searching for a new faculty hire to fill a slot in the Center for the Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems in the area of Behavioral Genomics. They are definitely interested in neuroanthropology and in anthropological genetics/epigenetics, and want someone comfortable working in an interdisciplinary setting. Here is an abbreviated description:
The Center for Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems (CPYBP) at The University of Alabama is recruiting for a tenure-track faculty position at the assistant professor level starting August 16, 2012. The position is broadly defined as one that could require expertise in behavioral genetics, epigenetics, or computational biology.
Candidates for this position should possess a Ph.D. in biology, psychology, anthropology or related discipline, with an emphasis in neuroscience, and demonstrate potential for a distinguished scientific career. Postdoctoral training is preferred. The position targets individuals with a background in any area of behavioral genomics related to aggressive behavior in humans. However, specific areas that will be given preference are those focused on genetic or neural substrates for environmental interactions related to decision-making and aggressive behavior in youth.
To apply, go to http://facultyjobs.ua.edu and complete the online application.
Behavioral and Brain Sciences Article on Functional Drug Use
Christian Muller and Gunter Schumann have a new BBS article, Drugs as instruments: A new framework for non-addictive psychoactive drug use. Here’s the abstract:
Most people who are regular consumers of psychoactive drugs are not drug addicts, nor will they ever become addicts. In neurobiological theories, non-addictive drug consumption is acknowledged only as a “necessary” prerequisite for addiction, but not as a stable and widespread behavior in its own right. This target article proposes a new neurobiological framework theory for non-addictive psychoactive drug consumption, introducing the concept of “drug instrumentalization.” Psychoactive drugs are consumed for their effects on mental states. Humans are able to learn that mental states can be changed on purpose by drugs, in order to facilitate other, non-drug-related behaviors. We discuss specific “instrumentalization goals” and outline neurobiological mechanisms of how major classes of psychoactive drugs change mental states and serve non-drug-related behaviors.
We argue that drug instrumentalization behavior may provide a functional adaptation to modern environments based on a historical selection for learning mechanisms that allow the dynamic modification of consummatory behavior. It is assumed that in order to effectively instrumentalize psychoactive drugs, the establishment of and retrieval from a drug memory is required. Here, we propose a new classification of different drug memory subtypes and discuss how they interact during drug instrumentalization learning and retrieval. Understanding the everyday utility and the learning mechanisms of non-addictive psychotropic drug use may help to prevent abuse and the transition to drug addiction in the future.
There is a great line-up of commentators, including yours truly.
Müller & Schumann (M&S) deserve applause for their interdisciplinary examination of drug use, evolution, and learning. Further steps can deepen their evolutionary analysis: a focus on adaptive benefits, a distinction between approach and consummatory behaviors, an examination of how drugs can create adaptive lag through changing human niche construction, the importance of other neurobehavioral mechanisms in drug use besides instrumentalization, and the importance of sociocultural dynamics and neural plasticity in both human evolution and drug use.