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Culture, Mind, and the Brain: Current Evidence and Future Directions

Kitayama, Shinobu, Uskul, Ayse K. (2011) Culture, Mind, and the Brain: Current Evidence and Future Directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 62 (1). pp. 419-449. ISSN 0066-4308. (doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-120709-145357) (KAR id:32378)


Current research on culture focuses on independence and interdependence and documents numerous East-West psychological differences, with an increasing emphasis placed on cognitive mediating mechanisms. Lost in this literature is a time-honored idea of culture as a collective process composed of cross-generationally transmitted values and associated behavioral patterns (i.e., practices). A new model of neuro-culture interaction proposed here addresses this conceptual gap by hypothesizing that the brain serves as a crucial site that accumulates effects of cultural experience, insofar as neural connectivity is likely modified through sustained engagement in cultural practices. Thus, culture is “embrained,” and moreover, this process requires no cognitive mediation. The model is supported in a review of empirical evidence regarding (a) collective-level factors involved in both production and adoption of cultural values and practices and (b) neural changes that result from engagement in cultural practices. Future directions of research on culture, mind, and the brain are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1146/annurev-psych-120709-145357
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Ayse Uskul
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2012 15:49 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2020 04:04 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Uskul, Ayse K.:
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