A cultural neuroscience approach to the biosocial nature of the human brain

Annu Rev Psychol. 2013;64:335-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-071112-054629. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


Cultural neuroscience (CN) is an interdisciplinary field that investigates the relationship between culture (e.g., value and belief systems and practices shared by groups) and human brain functions. In this review we describe the origin, aims, and methods of CN as well as its conceptual framework and major findings. We also clarify several misunderstandings of CN research. Finally, we discuss the implications of CN findings for understanding human brain function in sociocultural contexts and novel questions that future CN research should address. By doing so, we hope to provide a clear picture of the CN approach to the human brain and culture and to elucidate the intrinsically biosocial nature of the functional organization of the human brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Culture*
  • Ethnopsychology / methods*
  • Ethnopsychology / trends
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences / methods*
  • Neurosciences / trends
  • Social Behavior*