Culture in social neuroscience: A review

Nicholas O. Rule, Jonathan B. Freeman, Nalini Ambady

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The aim of this review is to highlight an emerging field: the neuroscience of culture. This new field links cross-cultural psychology with cognitive neuroscience across fundamental domains of cognitive and social psychology. We present a summary of studies on emotion, perspective-taking, memory, object perception, attention, language, and the self, showing cultural differences in behavior as well as in neural activation. Although it is still nascent, the broad impact of merging the study of culture with cognitive neuroscience holds mutual distributed benefits for multiple related fields. Thus, cultural neuroscience may be uniquely poised to provide insights and breakthroughs for longstanding questions and problems in the study of behavior and thought, and its capacity for integration across multiple levels of analysis is especially high. These findings attest to the plasticity of the brain and its adaptation to cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Culture
  • EEG
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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