The Institute’s mission has three sides: research, training, and outreach.
The Institute develops, supports, and catalyzes research initiatives into the unendingly rich nexus of mind and culture. This involves:
- conducting research at the intersection of culture and the mind, focusing on specific patterns of human behavior, belief, and experience;
- sponsoring the research efforts of others in this area;
- coordinating international research projects in order to achieve large sample sizes and to register cultural differences;
- and working across multiple disciplines—including cognitive sciences, medical sciences, social sciences, psychology, religious studies, and humanities—to produce interpretations of human behaviors, beliefs, and experiences with the requisite sophistication and sensitivity.
The Institute provides an institutional locus for training people to learn bio-cultural methods and conduct cutting-edge research into diverse phenomena at the intersection of mind and culture. This involves:
- providing established investigators interested in the topic with fast-track resources necessary to get them involved in research into the bio-cultural functions of the mind-culture nexus;
- introducing undergraduate and graduate students to the numerous tasks of such research;
- sponsoring graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in such research; and
- establishing and nurturing affiliations with universities that seek education grounded in biocultural methods for their undergraduate and graduate students.
The Institute disseminates knowledge about the mind-culture nexus so as to have a positive influence on both academic scholarship and the general public. This involves:
- launching new publishing projects such as a scholarly journal and an academic book series focused on the mind-culture nexus and its significance for human life;
- establishing a cadre of trained experts who can consult with domestic and international organizations needing guidance on the ethical, medical, and social implications of phenomena in the mind-culture nexus;
- producing a series of technical working papers and policy recommendations for public and private organizational entities including federal, state, and local governmental organizations; international aid groups; domestic and international business ventures; health-care organizations; universities and schools; and religious groups;
- issuing press releases about new research results that engage media experts with the deepening knowledge of the mind-culture nexus;
- working with media outlets to explain the significance of bio-cultural research efforts for the general public;
- providing resources to enhance the understanding of the mind-culture nexus in journalism, especially by influencing professors and students in university journalism programs;
- developing curriculum materials to serve as resources for university course work related to aspects of the mind-culture nexus;
- sponsoring colloquia, seminars, working groups, and public lectures on topics related to the mind-culture nexus; and
- maintaining a web presence that centralizes resources for the scientific study of human life that are useful for research specialists, media representatives, policy makers, religious leaders, and the general public.