Cultural neuroscience: Progress and future directions

Joan Chiao, PhD, Assis­tant Professor, Department of Psychology, Northwestern Uni­ver­sity   Web­site  |  Pub­li­ca­tions

Abstract: What is the cul­tural and bio­log­i­cal basis of human diver­sity?  Cul­tural neu­ro­science is an emerg­ing field that exam­ines how cul­tural and genetic diver­sity shape mind, brain and behav­ior. In this talk, I will describe neu­roimag­ing evi­dence that cul­ture affects neural response dur­ing emo­tion and social cog­ni­tion across macro– and micro-timescales. I will also dis­cuss a culture-gene coevo­lu­tion­ary the­ory of emo­tion and social cog­ni­tion.  Impli­ca­tions for future research as well as chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties for devel­op­ment of research-teaching infra­struc­ture in cul­tural neu­ro­science will be discussed.

Bio: Joan Y. Chiao is an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of Psy­chol­ogy at North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity. She received her BA in Sym­bolic Sys­tems with Hon­ors from Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity in 2000 and PhD in Psy­chol­ogy from Har­vard Uni­ver­sity in 2006 study­ing social psy­chol­ogy and cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science. Her main research inter­ests include cul­tural neu­ro­science of emo­tion and social inter­ac­tion, social and affec­tive neu­ro­science across devel­op­ment, social dom­i­nance and affil­i­a­tion, and inte­grat­ing psy­chol­ogy and neu­ro­science research with pub­lic pol­icy and pop­u­la­tion health issues. Dr. Chiao cur­rently serves on the board of sev­eral jour­nals includ­ing Neu­roim­age, Cul­ture and Brain, Jour­nal of Exper­i­men­tal Psy­chol­ogy: Gen­eral, Social Neu­ro­science, Social Cog­ni­tive and Affec­tive Neu­ro­science, Fron­tiers in Cul­tural Psy­chol­ogy, Fron­tiers in Human Neu­ro­science, and Biol­ogy of Anx­i­ety and Mood Dis­or­ders. In 2009-10, she served as Edi­tor for an edited vol­ume of Progress in Brain Research on cul­tural neu­ro­science called “Cul­tural Neu­ro­science: Cul­tural Influ­ences on Brain Func­tion” and a spe­cial issue on cul­tural neu­ro­science in Social Cog­ni­tive and Affec­tive Neu­ro­science.  Dr. Chiao is a recip­i­ent of fund­ing from the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion, Japan Soci­ety for the Pro­mo­tion of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy and the National Insti­tutes of Health. She was recently named a Ris­ing Star by the Asso­ci­a­tion for Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence and is cur­rently the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the NIH-sponsored Inter­na­tional Cul­tural Neu­ro­science Con­sor­tium, an orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to advanc­ing the­ory and meth­ods in cul­tural neu­ro­science with a focus on cul­ture and health.