Culture and Brain

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 14–35 | Cite as

A sociocultural neuroscience approach to pain

  • Steven R. Anderson
  • Elizabeth A. Reynolds Losin
Original Research Article


A significant body of research has identified ethnic, racial, and national differences in pain report. Although a number of contemporary models of the pain experience include top-down modulation by social and cultural factors, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these group differences in pain remain unknown. We argue that a sociocultural neuroscience approach to pain may elucidate the sociocultural and neurobiological mechanisms underlying group differences in pain report. As a foundation for this approach to pain we will (1) review examples of group differences in pain report, (2) propose a neurocultural model of pain that outlines and connects cultural and neurobiological mechanisms that may account for these group differences, (3) review the literature that supports the connections between culture, pain, and the brain in each stage of our model, and (4) discuss the novel contributions that a sociocultural neuroscience approach to pain can make to our understanding of pain and to improving pain diagnosis and treatment.


Sociocultural Cultural neuroscience Pain Pain modulation Neuroimaging fMRI 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven R. Anderson
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Reynolds Losin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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