Examining Mind-Body Interactions Across Cultures - IPR Faculty Spotlight on Rebecca Seligman

May 15, 2015. How do social and cultural experiences become embedded in physical and mental health? This is one of the central questions driving IPR anthropologist Rebecca Seligman’s research—and one that has intrigued her since she was a teen attending her first large rally in Washington, D.C. 

“It had this unbelievable emotional impact on me,” she recalled. “And it made me wonder—why did it feel so good to participate in this collective ritual?” 

Seligman went on to study the impact of such rituals by delving into the field of anthropology, eventually obtaining her PhD from Emory University. Her wide-ranging research agenda encompasses examinations of spirit possession in Brazil to investigations of mental health among Mexican-American teenagers, but all of it is united by an interest in mind-body interactions and sociocultural influences.

“My research looks at how psychological practices affect bodily processes, and vice versa—and how cultural and social factors get internalized, both in the mind and in the body, and influence those mental and bodily process in really deep ways,” Seligman said. Read more

IPR Faculty Spotlight