Culture and Brain

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 75–92 | Cite as

Cultural neuroscience: new directions as the field matures

What do cultural neuroscience findings mean?
  • Luke W. Hyde
  • Steven Tompson
  • J. David Creswell
  • Emily B. Falk
Review Article


Cultural neuroscience has documented factors that affect biological and psychological processes that reciprocally shape beliefs and norms shared by groups of individuals. Here we highlight open questions regarding the stability versus malleability of these findings across time, environments, and cultural settings. By borrowing points from population neuroscience (Falk et al., in Proc Natl Acad Sci 110:17615–17622, 2013) and neurogenetics (Bogdan et al., in Mol Psychiatry 18:288–299, 2012), we highlight considerations for research on the development of differences in brain structure and function, particularly in the context of cultural variation. These points highlight the need to better understand gene by culture interactions; in particular, the potential role of ancestry, and the role the brain likely plays as a mechanism through which gene by culture interactions affect behavior. Moreover, we highlight the need to consider development in the interaction of culture and biology. We also highlight methodological challenges as neuroscience is brought to the population level including the importance of sampling and experimental equivalence across groups and cultures. In total, this discussion is aimed at fostering new advances in the young field of cultural neuroscience and highlighting ways in which cultural neuroscience can inform a broader understanding of the development of differences in complex behaviors.


Cultural neuroscience Gene by environment interaction Neurogenetics Imaging genetics Developmental psychopathology Population neuroscience 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luke W. Hyde
    • 1
  • Steven Tompson
    • 2
  • J. David Creswell
    • 3
  • Emily B. Falk
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Center for Human Growth and Development, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Annenberg School for CommunicationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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