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Testing hypotheses about the harm that capitalism causes to the mind and brain: a theoretical framework for neuroscience research

Kokorikou, DS; Sarigiannidis, I; Fiore, VG; Parkin, B; Hopkins, A; El-Deredy, W; Dilley, L; (2023) Testing hypotheses about the harm that capitalism causes to the mind and brain: a theoretical framework for neuroscience research. Frontiers in Sociology , 8 , Article 1030115. 10.3389/fsoc.2023.1030115. Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper, we will attempt to outline the key ideas of a theoretical framework for neuroscience research that reflects critically on the neoliberal capitalist context. We argue that neuroscience can and should illuminate the effects of neoliberal capitalism on the brains and minds of the population living under such socioeconomic systems. Firstly, we review the available empirical research indicating that the socio-economic environment is harmful to minds and brains. We, then, describe the effects of the capitalist context on neuroscience itself by presenting how it has been influenced historically. In order to set out a theoretical framework that can generate neuroscientific hypotheses with regards to the effects of the capitalist context on brains and minds, we suggest a categorization of the effects, namely deprivation, isolation and intersectional effects. We also argue in favor of a neurodiversity perspective [as opposed to the dominant model of conceptualizing neural (mal-)functioning] and for a perspective that takes into account brain plasticity and potential for change and adaptation. Lastly, we discuss the specific needs for future research as well as a frame for post-capitalist research.

Type: Article
Title: Testing hypotheses about the harm that capitalism causes to the mind and brain: a theoretical framework for neuroscience research
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fsoc.2023.1030115
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2023.1030115
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 Kokorikou, Sarigiannidis, Fiore, Parkin, Hopkins, El-Deredy, Dilley and Moutoussis. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: capitalism, inequality, neurodiversity, deprivation, isolation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174421
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