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Cultural Neuroscience: Connecting Culture, Brain, and Genes, by Kitayama and Huff

01/01/2015 (Aprox)


A 2015 overview asserts that, from a functional connectivity analysis showing that neural connections between MPFC and bilateral temporoparietal function (said to be “implicated” in perspective taking) “were much stronger for Chinese than for Danes during the judgment of social attributes of the self,” it can be concluded that the Chinese self is constituted by a more integrated, or holistic, representation of both direct and indirect appraisals. In comparison, the Western self appears more one-dimensional in the sense that it is defined largely on the basis of the first-person perspective alone. (Kitayama and Huff 2015, 6) Such an inference, however, is fallacious.


This is not because it implies the questionable existence of a homogeneous, perfectly self-consistent Western or Chinese self. In fact, the study itself reports that in Asian American individuals, who have multiple cultural identities, brain response patterns depend on which “cultural frame” is made salient (10), but it does not establish that this cannot happen in allegedly monocultural persons. The inference is fallacious because the nature of a self cannot be inferred or even hypothesized from the existence of certain “neural connections.” However, such an inference exhibits the ultimate implicit goal of much neurodisciplinary research: to diagnose and classify on the basis of brain data, thus saving the trouble of engaging in apparently messier and less objective human science research.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

Below you can find the full article on Research Gate, download the PDF and watch a talk given by Shinobu Kitayama on cultural neuroscience:
Title and abstract of the article

Kitayama, Shinobu, and Sarah Huff. 2015. “Cultural Neuroscience: Connecting Culture, Brain, and Gene...

Cultural Neuroscience: Connecting Culture, Brain, and Genes (PDF)
Shinobu Kitayama, "Cultural Neuroscience of the Self", ISS 2010
Shinobu Kitayama, PhD, is the Robert B. Zajonc Collegiate Professor of Psychology and director of th...

About Shinobu Kitayama

Sarah Huff is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Amherst Colleg...

About Sarah Huff

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Published in 15/01/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Chap. 2: The Neurodisciplines of Culture:


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01/03/2012 (Aprox)01/05/2012 (Aprox)Special Issues on NeuroanthropologySpecial Issues on Neuroanthropology
01/01/2007 (Aprox)First appearance of the term cultural neuroscienceFirst appearance of the term cultural neuroscience
01/01/1992 (Aprox)Early use of the term social neuroscience
29/12/2004Social Neuroscience, by John T. Cacioppo and Gary BerntsonSocial Neuroscience, by John T. Cacioppo and Gary Berntson
01/01/2006 (Aprox)Launch of the journal Social Neuroscience
01/01/2008 (Aprox)Foundation of the Social and Affective Neuroscience SocietyFoundation of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society
20/01/2010Foundation of the Society for Social NeuroscienceFoundation of the Society for Social Neuroscience
01/01/2013 (Aprox)Foundation of the journal Culture & Brain
01/01/1991 (Aprox)Thinking Through Cultures, by Richard ShwederThinking Through Cultures, by Richard Shweder
01/01/2009 (Aprox)Neural basis of individualistic and collectivistic views of the self, by Chiao et al.Neural basis of individualistic and collectivistic views of the self, by Chiao et al.
23/08/2008The first Ph.D. in NeuroanthropologyThe first Ph.D. in Neuroanthropology
01/01/2015 (Aprox)Cultural Neuroscience: Connecting Culture, Brain, and Genes, by Kitayama and HuffCultural Neuroscience: Connecting Culture, Brain, and Genes, by Kitayama and Huff
01/01/1871 (Aprox)Primitive Culture, by Edward Burnett TylorPrimitive Culture, by Edward Burnett Tylor
01/01/1985 (Aprox)Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, by Raymond WilliamsKeywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, by Raymond Williams
01/01/1928 (Aprox)Coming of Age in Samoa, by Margaret MeadComing of Age in Samoa, by Margaret Mead
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01/01/1997 (Aprox)Appearance of the term neuroanthropology in the Dictionary of AnthropologyAppearance of the term neuroanthropology in the Dictionary of Anthropology
01/01/2012 (Aprox)Neuroanthropology vs. Cultural Neuroscience
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01/01/2003 (Aprox)01/01/2015 (Aprox)Topics researched in cultural neuroscienceTopics researched in cultural neuroscience