Posted by & filed under Clinical Assessment, Cultural Variation, Health Psychology, Indigenous Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders.

Description: Think about this question: Is neuroscience (brain science) universal or does it, or should it, vary across diverse cultural communities? On the one hand, brains are brains, right? On the other hand, a HUGE part of what goes into mental health, wellness and dealing with mental illness IS culturally linked isn’t it? Which of these two latter statements do your thoughts bend toward? Hold those thoughts for a moment and consider another question. What is a scoping review and how is it different than a literature review or a meta-analysis? Generally put, literature reviews involve looking into archives of previous research to see who had done research in a particular area or on a particular question. Meta-analyses are more detailed as they gather as many studies as can be found that looked at a particular research question and, to the extent possible based on the details available of each study, pool the results to provide a more definitive view on the questions considered (e.g., how well do different treatment of depression work, etc.).  The assumption that links literature reviews and meta-analyses is that the research they collect together generally share similar definitions of what it was they were studying. However, sometimes questions arise about the extent to which such shared conceptualizations assumptions make sense. A scoping review often involves a careful search of research databases to see how approaches to certain problems or concepts or issues vary. Such reviews can help us expand out perspective and understandings of approaches to concepts, issues or problems in ways that may not have been considered by many of those working in those areas. The question of whether brain science/understanding varies across cultural groups and particularly across divergent indigenous groups is certainly suited to a scoping review. So, recall your answers to the questions that opened this paragraph above, gather your curiosities about scoping reviews (of course you are curious now about scoping reviews), and have area through the actual scoping review on Indigenous perspectives on ways of knowing of the brain and mind linked below.

Source: Ways of Knowing of the Brain and Mind: A Scoping Review of the Literature About Global Indigenous Perspectives. Louise Harding, Caterina Marra, Vyshnavi Manohara, and Judy Illes, Journal of Neuroscience Research

Date: March 12, 2022

Image by Norm_Bosworth from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, what were your main take-aways from the linked article? Perhaps you were a bit disappointed that the article did not actually talk about the ways in which indigenous perspectives on brain and mind varied (no worries, have a look at the Read Further section below for a few places you can go for this). Certainly, what I was most struck by was how short the resulting list of scoped articles was. Additionally, I was also struck by how the majority of the articles found were conceived, conducted and written up by settler researchers. At some point, sooner rather than later, if we are going to be open to and listen to divergent voices of enquiries in to knowing about brain and mind we need to encourage, facilitate, and get out of the way of indigenous voices and perspectives on these core aspects of the human experience. More (diverse) research is most certainly needed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Are concepts and theories of brain and mind universal?
  2. If the answer to the previous question is even a little bit, no, why might it be important to fond or support more research into this type of diversity (by indigenous researchers)?
  3. Why might it be important or useful to have more of the sort of research referred to in the previous question?

References (Read Further):

Harding, L., Marra, C. J., Manohara, V., & Illes, J. (2022). Ways of Knowing of the Brain and Mind: A Scoping Review of the Literature About Global Indigenous Perspectives. Journal of Neurology Research. Link

Dudgeon, P., Bray, A., D’costa, B., & Walker, R. (2017). Decolonising psychology: Validating social and emotional wellbeing. Australian Psychologist, 52(4), 316-325. Link

Dale, E., Conigrave, K. M., Kelly, P. J., Ivers, R., Clapham, K., & Lee, K. S. (2021). A Delphi yarn: applying Indigenous knowledges to enhance the cultural utility of SMART Recovery Australia. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 16(1), 1-15. Link

Perreault, M. L., King, M., Gabel, C., Mushquash, C. J., De Koninck, Y., Lawson, A., … & Illes, J. (2021). An Indigenous Lens on Priorities for the Canadian Brain Research Strategy. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 1-3. Link

Danziger, K. (2006). Universalism and indigenization in the history of modern psychology. Internationalizing the history of psychology, 208-225. Link

Adams, G., Dobles, I., Gómez, L. H., Kurtiş, T., & Molina, L. E. (2015). Decolonizing psychological science: Introduction to the special thematic section. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3(1). Link

Wesley-Esquimaux, C. C., & Snowball, A. (2010). Viewing violence, mental illness and addiction through a wise practices lens. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 8(2), 390-407. Link

Clark, N. (2016). Shock and awe: Trauma as the new colonial frontier. Humanities, 5(1), 14. Link

Nabigon, H., & Wenger-Nabigon, A. (2012). ” Wise Practices”: Integrating traditional teachings with mainstream treatment approaches. Link