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Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies
it addresses how research on culture can advance effective intercultural competence, nonverbal behavior and emotion detection, and human, social, cultural, and behavioral models in national-security and military settings.
The problems facing national-security analysts will be discussed first. By definition, culture applies not only to nation-states but to individuals, ethnic groups, and transnational affiliates. Globalization requires national-security analysis to account more than ever for the political, social, economic, and cultural interactions, interests, and identities among states and especially nonstate actors. Contemporary foreign and military policy and intelligence gathering and analysis require understanding of the efforts undertaken by states in their dealings not only with other states but with numerous other external actors. Political realists in international relations have traditionally considered the state to be the most important element of concern. However, this chapter will begin with a discussion that shows that the selection of the unit of cultural analysis for understanding must be based on plural and global paradigms, not on political theory alone.
The array of research in political science; cultural anthropology; social, political, and cognitive psychology; and social neuroscience that is exploring implications of culture for cognition, meaning, and behavior will then be discussed. There are valid frameworks for assessing the values, preferences, and norms of cultural groups. The second part will outline the basic research and applied frameworks used to understand the cultural perspectives and mindset of individuals and of particular national cultures.
The third area of discussion will address whether research has shown that people can read, influence, or control the minds of others in various cultural and national contexts. Is brain functioning or neural mapping biologically universal, or is it culturally determined? It may not yet be possible to read minds with neuroscientific diagnostics and devices, but have practices in trust-building and management of fear that have relevance for the IC been developed in intercultural communication and conflict resolution? Conclusions will be drawn on how cultural research and frameworks can increase the effectiveness of programs in human behavior and culture models—such as the Human Terrain Project, GlobeSmart Soldier, and CultureSpan—under development by the IC and the military and diplomatic communities.
Culture and the Unit of Analysis
The study of culture requires a definition of the boundaries such as norms and ethics that identify a particular group. Political realism asserts that geographic and legal definitions of the state have been the bases of political and cultural understanding and interaction. Political realism has traditionally assumed that the state is a unitary actor (sometimes referred to as a black box) that has one policy or perspective at any given time on any particular issue. The state is essentially a legal and rational actor, which pursues foreign-policy and military-