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Dr. Seamus Decker

RESEARCH INTERESTS:

I am a psychobiological anthropologist with interests in reward-seeking behavior, stress-response, and chronic degenerative disease. My past work has focused on the influence of social structural factors (e.g., urban-rural labor migration and poverty) as well as interpersonal social networks and ambulatory daily hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal “stress” response. My training was at Emory University where I pursued an explicitly “biocultural” anthropological approach, a disciplinary orientation which I maintain today.

 

 

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

RESEARCH/PROJECT LINKS:

http://www.umass.edu/pahalab/index.html

GRAD STUDENTS:

Mackenzie Jackson

CV:

CONTACT: sdecker@anthro.umass.edu

I presently have two ongoing research threads which I hope in the long-term will be a foundation for longitudinal research on the ecology of chronic degenerative diseases (obesity-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease) and mental/behavioral health (e.g., depression, substance abuse).

The first of these two threads is experimental laboratory-based research at the Psychological Anthropology and Human Adaptation (PAHA) Laboratory. This laboratory combines methods and technology from experimental cognitive psychology and the psychobiology of stress. At present the two main methods we are using are a go-no-go “implicit association” reaction task using the Inquisit software system, and recording of physiological “stress” telemetry using an AD-instruments device (heart rate, sympathetic nervous system response, respiration). The underlying questions here center on relationship between stress experience and neuropsychological mechanisms shaping reward-seeking behaviors (e.g., eating, drug use or computer addiction). This relatively simple

individual-level model is envisioned as a foundation for more contextualized and nuanced future models that address multi-level dynamics like social structural or cultural factors...... Next.

Contact Information:
Department of Anthropology
240 Hicks Way

Laboratories:
Machmer Hall W-12, W14, W16
(W-16) 413-545-380
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