By Shayla Love

October 4, 2017

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Just after lunchtime, on a blistering summer day in Washington, D.C.,

cultural psychologist Yulia Chentsova-Dutton is showing me the stars.

They're on her computer screen at Georgetown University, and labeled

disturbingly: insomnia, anhedonia, headache, social withdrawal, chronic

pain, and more. Each star represents a somatic or emotional sensation linked

to depression.

 

Chentsova-Dutton's father was an astronomer. She's found a way to use what

he studied, the night sky, to understand her own research: how culture can

influence the way we feel and express emotion. If you look up, there are

thousands of stars, she says. You can't possibly take them all in. So, each

culture has invented schemas to remember them by, constellations. She pushes

a button, and several of the depression stars are connected by a thin yellow

line.