ECOLOGIES OF MENTAL HEALTH

INITIATOR FUND 

Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 community leads 
University of Bath: James Gregory  

Cardiff University: Valerie Walkerdine  

University of Exeter: Joel Krueger (PI), Aliette Lambert  

Project overview 

This project will develop an interdisciplinary GW4 community (philosophy, psychology, sociology, and consumer culture theory) to investigate how our cognitive, cultural, and technological “ecologies” shape mental health and wellbeing. 

Background 

Emerging approaches to mind and self in cognitive science and consumer culture theory endorse an “ecological” perspective. They argue that, to understand the mind, we must look beyond the brain and consider the ways individuals interact with the material, social, and technological resources within their cognitive and cultural ecologies. Drawing on these emerging frameworks, this project will explore (1) how these different ecologies impact the nature and development of mental disorder, as well as (2) what new possibilities ecological perspectives suggest for diagnosis, intervention, and wellbeing. 

Project summary 

The community held an exploratory workshop which brought together cognitive science and critical cultural scholars from GW4 and beyond to investigate the general question: how might the combined theoretical and methodological resources of these disciplines clarify the extent to which features of an individual’s cognitive ecology shape their mental disorder? Based on ideas generated at this workshop the community have published multiple papers and have identified opportunities for future research to pursue.