Volume 3, Number 4 Fall, 1990
Editor : Dr. Charles Laughlin, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA K1S 5B6, Phone (819) 459-1121, E-mail charles firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITORIAL: THE LAST FREEBIE
Well, the time of transition has come. This will be the last year of free membership in the Neuroanthropology Network. Beginning with 1991, we will move to an annual membership fee of $25 for full members, $20 for adjunct members, and $35 for institutions. Please remember to make payment in Canadian funds via a check or money order made out to "Carleton University."
The good news is that the fee will bring with it an expanded service. Not only will members receive quarterly issues of NNN and the annual network Directory , but each will receive an annually updated Neuroanthropology Bibliography which will be cumulative from all the past issues of the newsletter, plus additional references suggested by the membership. This bibliography can be reproduced for use in classes and seminars, and will hopefully become in time a definitive resource for teaching.
I am including a handy membership application/renewal form at the end of this issue. Membership fees will be due in January of each year. In order to reduce the confusion and smooth the transition somewhat, no previous members will be dropped from the Directory in 1991, even if they fail to renew their membership. But non-members will be dropped in subsequent years, as much to keep addresses and information current as for any other reason.
Full membership in the network entitles you to submit and update each year a paragraph-long professional biography in the Directory . Adjunct members are listed only by name and address. Generally speaking, full members are more active in the network, while adjunct members often wish to just "keep track" of developments in the field.
The network will be grateful for any donations that those non-members receiving our newsletter via e-mail networks (for example, via WESS) would care to give.
I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who choose not to become paying members of the network next year, but who supported the growth of the network during its formative years. More than anything, the encouragement you gave me and the support by numbers for funding are greatly appreciated. To all of you, be well and happy!
And to those of you who choose to continue as paying members, double thanks for your support, and welcome to a new stage in our development. I believe it will be worth your while, because I am going to increase the number of interviews reported in the newsletter, as well as increase the coverage of bibliographic sources.
PROFILE IN RESEARCH:
LEE X. BLONDER
Lee X. Blonder , Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Blonder received her Ph.D in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. During her predoctoral training, she gained research experience on a variety of neuropsychiatric patient populations including individuals with affective disorder, schizophrenia, stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease.
Her dissertation, The Effects of Right and Left Hemiparkinsonism on Prosody , examined disorders in nonverbal communication and cognition in patients with unilateral Parkinson's disease. These results are reported in three articles (co-authors are Drs. Raquel and Ruben Gur, Andrew Saykin, and Howard Hurtig) in Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, and Behavioral Neurology 1988, 1:87-96; Brain and Language 1989, 36:193-207; Brain and Cognition 1989,9:244-257.
Following completion of her doctorate, Dr. Blonder was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida. There she collaborated with Drs. Dawn Bowers and Kenneth Heilman on two projects involving patients with unilateral strokes. The first is an investigation of "emotional knowledge", i.e. the linguistic representation of emotional meaning, including the structure of the emotion lexicon and the interpretation of emotional stories in patients with right versus left CVA. This is based on previous research which has established that patients with right hemisphere damage (RHD) are impaired in the comprehension of emotional prosody and facial expression. There are several explanations for this impairment. It may reflect defective acoustic and visuospatial analysis; disruption of nonverbal communicative representations; or a disturbance in the comprehension of emotional meaning.
In order to examine these hypotheses, the investigators asked RHD patients, left hemisphere damaged patients (LHD) and normal controls (NHD) to judge the emotional content sentences describing nonverbal expressions, and sentences describing emotional situations. They found that RHD subjects performed normally in their ability to infer the emotion conveyed by sentences describing situations. However, RHD patients were impaired in comparison with both LHD and NHD in the capacity to judge the emotional content of sentences depicting facial, prosodic, and gestural expressions, suggesting a disruption of nonverbal communicative representations. These results have been accepted to the journal Brain for publication.
One of Dr. Blonder's interests as a "neuroanthropologist" is to examine the effects of stroke involving different brain regions on natural behavior and social interaction. Toward this end, Dr. Blonder has collaborated with Dr. Allan Burns in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida on a project assessing nonverbal communication in unilateral stroke patients during natural conversation. In this study, Dr. Blonder and collaborators (Drs. Allan Burns, Dawn Bowers, Robert Moore, and Kenneth Heilman), compared facial expressivity in right hemisphere damaged patients (RHD), left hemisphere damaged patients (LHD), and normal controls (NHD) during videotaped open-ended interviews with the patient and spouse in their home.
Three female research assistants rated 120 ten-second segments of videotape per patient on a seven-point expressivity scale (intraclass correlation = .82). They found that RHD patients showed reduced facial expressivity in comparison to both LHD and NHD subjects during spontaneous conversation. These results have been submitted for publication.
At present, Dr. Blonder is the behavioral scientist in a multidisciplinary Stroke Program, part of the Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky. She is in the process of planning a prospective, longitudinal study of the effects of stroke to different brain regions on discourse, nonverbal communication, and family interaction. In addition, Blonder organized and chaired a session entitled "Exploring the Interface of Mind, Culture, and Neurobiology" for the 1989 meeting of the American Anthropological Association (see NNN 2(4)). At present, she and several participants in the session are revising their papers for publication as a special issue of Human Nature .
Dr. Blonder can be reached at the Center on Aging, 101 Sanders-Brown Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky 40536-0230, Ph: (606) 257-5277.
THE "RADIATOR" THEORY
Dean Falk has just published an article entitled "Brain Evolution in homo : The "Radiator" Theory" in Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13:333-381 (1990). She intends her theory to account for the "mosaic evolution" whereby brain size began to increase rapidly in the genus Homo well over a million years after bipedalism had been selected for in early hominids.
Brain size increased due to a reorganization of the circulatory system. Because hydrostatic pressures differ across columns of fluid depending upon postural orientation, vascular systems of early bipeds became reoriented so that cranial blood flowed preferentially to the vertebral plexus instead of the internal jugular vein in response to gravity. The Hadar early hominids and robust australopithecines partly achieved this reorientation with a dramatically enlarged occipital/marginal sinus system.
On the other hand, hominids in the gracile australopithecine through Homo lineage delivered blood to the vertebral plexus via a widespread network of veins that became more elaborate through time.
Mastoid and parietal emissary veins are representatives of this network, and increases in their frequencies during hominid evolution are indicative of its development. Brain size increased with increased frequencies of mastoid and parietal emissary veins in the lineage leading to and including Homo , but remained conservative in the robust australopithecine lineage that lacked the network of veins.
The brain is an extremely heat-sensitive organ and emissary veins in humans have been shown to cool the brain under conditions of hyperthermia. Thus, the network of veins in the lineage leading to Homo acted as a radiator that released a thermal constraint on brain size. The radiator theory is in keeping with the belief that basal gracile and basal robust australopithecines occupied distinct niches, with the former living in savanna mosaic habitats that were subject to hot temperatures and intense solar radiation during the day.
CALL FOR REFERENCES
Beginning in 1991, the neuroanthropology network will publish an annual Neuro-anthropology Bibliography . This will be a cumulative reference resource that includes all sources listed in the quarterly newsletter, plus references contributed by members. The success of this project depends a lot on member participation. The Bibliography will come out accompanying the first issue of the newsletter each year, and will include references listed in all previous annual Bibliographies .
The first issue of the Bibliography will come out in February, 1991. The editor invites you to send him any references you feel should be in any comprehensive bibliography covering the width and breadth of neuro-anthropology. This may include sources important to the history of the field. Please send these references to the editor by the end of January, 1991.
NEW WESS JOURNAL
The Washington Evolutionary Systems Society not only puts out a sterling newsletter, From Cosmos to Consciousness , but is now inaugurating on January 1, 1991, a new journal. Issues will be published semiannually. Each issue will be thematic, and the topic will be determined by the Editorial Board. A wide range of submissions is welcome: summaries of original evolutionary research, comparative or integrative surveys, critical reviews, poetry, fiction, humor, graphics, etc.
WESS seeks articles written for a widely diverse and informed audience, and must be written in clear and precise English. The Board will read the manuscript twice, once for content and once for clarity.
Preference will be given to articles of 5 double-spaced pages or less. References can be cited in the contributor's preferred format. Graphics should be camera-ready. A computer disk must accompany hard copy. Send articles to:
1601 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Fair, Charles M. (1988) Memory and Central Nervous Organization . NY: Paragon. [good summary of range of neuropsychological issues on memory]
Lycan, William G., ed. (1990) Mind and Cognition: A Reader . Oxford: Basil Blackwell. [covers various theories, including neurophilosophy]
Dennett, Daniel C. (1987) The Intentional Stance . Cambridge: MIT Press.
Dennett, Daniel C. (1981) Brainstorms . Cambridge: MIT Press.
Glass, Leon & Michael C. Mackey (1988) From Clocks to Chaos: The Rhythms of Life . Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Binkley, Sue (1990) The Clockwork Sparrow: Time, Clocks, and Calendars in Biological Organizations . Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Snyder, Soloman H. (1989) Brainstorming: The Science and Politics of Opiate Research . Cambridge: Harvard University Press. [drugs and the brain]
Klivington, Kenneth (1989) The Science of Mind . Cambridge: MIT Press. [lots of good pictures and articles on brain/mind connections]
Leibovic, K.N. (1990) Science of Vision . NY: Springer-Verlag.
Poizner, Howard, E.S. Klima & U. Bellugi (1987) What the Hands Reveal about the Brain . [brain, language, aphasia, etc.]
Trevarthan, Colwyn, ed. (1990) Brain Circuits and Functions of the Mind: Essays in Honor of Roger W. Sperry . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dunai, Yadin (1989) The Neurobiology of Memory . Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Eimos, Peter D. & A.M. Galaburda, eds. (1990) Neurobiology of Cognition . Cambridge: MIT Press. [covers Changeux, etc.]
Eckmiller, Rolf, Georg Hartman & Gert Hauske, eds. (1990) Parallel Processing in Neural Systems and Computers . Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Nicolis, John S. (1991) Chaos and Information Processing . Teaneck, NJ: World Scientific Pub.