Neuroscience in the Wild | Workshop 2019 (2 of 6) | Kathy Trang | Coloring perception: Neurocognitive predictors of real-time mental health vulnerability among highly traumatized men
Anthropology, Emory University
Coloring perception: Neurocognitive predictors of real-time mental health vulnerability among highly traumatized men.
Attending to the everyday life-worlds of vulnerable populations has been a key manifest of biocultural anthropology. Ecological momentary assessments and neurocognitive methods play a critical role in illuminating not only the differential resources available to people, but also the differential ability with which they are able to perceive, prioritize, and utilize such resources. This paper aims to open a discussion of the potential values, limitations, and drawbacks of these technologies for advancing person-centered inquiry into human experience in limited-resource settings through specific examples from work among young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in Hanoi, Vietnam. Globally, trauma exposure is elevated among this population and may contribute towards their development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A debilitating psychiatric condition, PTSD is associated with a number of neurocognitive changes that affect decision-making, emotion-regulation, and social interaction. These changes may drive risk-taking behaviors and contribute to risk of treatment failure. Leveraging insights and methods from ethnographic, clinical, and digital health research, this study evaluated the relationship between YMSM’s neurocognitive performance and response to culturally and developmentally salient stressors in real-time. This presentation presents preliminary results from the study and reflects on the potentials and constraints operant in design and implementation of such research in low-resource settings.