Boo! Culture, Experience, and the Startle Reflex

Hardcover | January 1, 1996

byRonald Simons

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The startle reflex provides a revealing model for examining the ways in which evolved neurophysiology shapes personal experience and patterns of recurrent social interaction. In the most diverse cultural contexts, in societies widely separated by time and space, the inescapable physiology ofthe reflex both shapes the experience of startle and biases the social usages to which the reflex is put. This book describes ways in which the startle reflex is experienced, culturally elaborated, and socially used in a wide variety of times and places. It offers explanations both for the patternedcommonalities found across cultural settings and for the differences engendered by diverse social environments. Boo! will intrigue readers in fields such as psychological anthropology, medical anthropology, general cultural anthropology, social psychology, cross-cultural psychiatry, evolutionarypsychology, and human ethology.

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The startle reflex provides a revealing model for examining the ways in which evolved neurophysiology shapes personal experience and patterns of recurrent social interaction. In the most diverse cultural contexts, in societies widely separated by time and space, the inescapable physiology ofthe reflex both shapes the experience of star...

Ronald C. Simons is Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.49 × 6.46 × 0.79 inPublished:January 1, 1996Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195096266

ISBN - 13:9780195096262

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Table of Contents

PART I: Startle and Hyperstartle1. Introduction2. Startle as a Personal Experience and as a Social Resource3. Making People Jumpy: Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn Create a Hyperstartler4. Variations on a Theme: Being Startled Makes One Ill5. The Startle Museum I: Exhibits of Startle Sorted by the Expository Uses6. The Startle Museum II: Exhibits of Startle Sorted by Properties of Startle EventsPART II: Latah and Other Startle-Matching Syndromes7. Attention Capture and the Startle-Matching Syndromes8. Latah: The Paradigmatic Startle-Machine Syndrome9. Explaining Latah: The Importance of Descriptive Detail10. The Startle-Matching Syndrome in Other Cultures11. Culture, Biology, and Individual Experience

Editorial Reviews

"This book is the culmination of Simons's longstanding interest in disorders of startle, and more specifically in the culture bound startle syndromes. He has carried out extensive studies on Latah in Malaysia. The book contains an encyclopedic description of references to startle inliterature, the press and in everyday life. The book is beautifully produced. BOO! can be highly recommended as an important, scholarly and elegant source, not only for people interested in startle and its disorders, but as an example of cultural determinants of pathophysiological aspects of humanbehavior." -- Transcultural Psychiatry, 37(4)