Changing cultures, changing brains: A framework for integrating cultural neuroscience and cultural change research

Jung Yul Kwon, Alexandra S. Wormley, Michael E.W. Varnum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Cultural neuroscience research has provided substantial evidence that culture shapes the brain by providing systematically different sets of experiences. However, cultures are ever-changing in response to the physical and social environment. In the present paper, we integrate theories and methods from cultural neuroscience with the emerging body of research on cultural change and suggest several ways in which the two fields can inform each other. First, we propose that the cultural change perspective helps us reexamine what is meant by culturally typical experiences, which are shaped by the dynamic interaction between cultural norms, values, meanings, and other environmental constraints on behavior. It also allows us to make predictions about the variability/stability of cultural neural differences over time. Then, we discuss how methods used in cultural change research may be applied to cultural neuroscience research and vice versa. We end with a “blue sky vision” for a neuroscience of cultural change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108087
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume162
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cultural change
  • Cultural neuroscience
  • Culture
  • Ecology
  • Time series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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