Constructions of the Brain: The Emergence of the Neurological Adolescent

Research Program 2008–12

The goal of this Research Program was to develop meaningful interactions between history of science, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience. Using the framework of Critical Neuroscience and intersecting with the Cerebral Subject project, it sought to examine the cultural contexts and social functions of recent research in the neurosciences including questions about the social brain, cultural differences, and cognitive development. A particular focus of the project was the adolescent brain. The adolescence project studied how ideas and practices related to mental and moral development during adolescence developed from the late nineteenth century to current frameworks in neuroscience and psychiatry. It also explored the ways in which brain-based explanations of adolescence are appropriated in clinical, educational, and popular domains, and among adolescents, themselves, in diverse cultural contexts. Firstly, therefore, the adolescence project contributed to social studies of neuroscience. Through its collaborative structure organized between the Mind & Brain School, Humboldt University, and the MPIWG, a second aim was to advance reflexive and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of behavior and development.


The Adolescent Daydreamer