Announcing Our First Area of Focus
We at the Who We Am project scan the landscape of human behavior-related research to find emerging potential at the intersections of diverse disciplines. Where work in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Health Communications, Education, the Arts and Media come together, there is increasing interest in exploring how cultural traits and social norms form and impact behavior.
The National Science Foundation’s 2011 white paper, Rebuilding the Mosaic and the National Institutes of Health relatively new OppNet initiative direct new support to better understand and positively affect socio-cultural factors that impact health, education, poverty, and other issues. Rather than frame social problems as anomalies to be addressed once they appear, social and cultural thinking looks “upstream” to consider intervening where sociocultural determinants of behavior form.
Who We Am is now launching an effort to stimulate transdisciplinary discourse and research efforts to further explore:
- How ideas become established in social and cultural environments?
- How individual perceptions of social normalcy develop?
- What sources of ideas do individuals report influence their beliefs, attitudes and decisions?
- What have other civilizations done to infuse their cultures with prosocial ideas?
- What types of cultural interventions might produce positive behavior change today?
We will begin this month by filming interviews with high school-aged young adults—asking them about their current circumstances and future aspirations: how they make both daily decisions and long-term plans; who and what influences them; what kind of messages they are getting from their social and cultural environments—from their families to advertising campaigns. We are striving for a high artistic level for these films, and hope that once edited and posted on this site, they spark discussion among those interested in these questions. This is preliminary research for a grant application we’ll be submitting in December to answer an Request For Applications from the National Institutes of Health. We are actively seeking research team members now.
Please join us by commenting on this first post to give us your first impressions of this new direction. We are looking for interested people to guest post on this blog as well. Email us at email@example.com if you would like more information or are interested in discussing your possible involvement in this research.