Beyond black and white: heibaika, neuroparenting, and lay neuroscience

Jia shin Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Heibaika (Mandarin for black-and-white cards) are tools that Taiwanese parents use for infants below 3 months old. These cards are claimed to stimulate vision and enhance the brain. Although the scientific efficacy of heibaika is questionable, the wide circulation of these cards illustrates the ways some try to urge laypeople to imagine and picture the infant brain. Thus, the use of heibaika constitutes a good example of neuroparenting and neuroculture, where flourishing neuroscience transforms the parenting culture. In the present study, multiple methodologies are applied, and the emergence of heibaika is identified as a twenty-first century phenomenon popularised by online forums and postpartum care centres, among many other channels. Heibaika are contextualised in the globalisation of neuroparenting through translation since the 1990s and the rising anxiety of contemporary Taiwanese parents. Through interview analysis, parents are classified into believers, sceptics, and cautious experimenters. Their anticipations and worries are further elaborated. The paper concludes by highlighting its three major contributions: the importance of studying lay neuroscience as a way to rethink and problematise the boundary between science and culture, the enrichment of the concept of neuroparenting, and the emphasis on the dimension of globalisation and knowledge transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-87
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Globalisation
  • Heibaika
  • Lay neuroscience
  • Neuroculture
  • Neuroparenting
  • Postpartum care centre


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