An Introduction to Cultural Neurobiology: Evidence from Physiological Stress Systems

Leah D. Doane*, Michael R. Sladek, Emma K. Adam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


Investigators are increasingly beginning to examine racial/ethnic and cultural processes in psychobiological research. In this chapter we provide a broad overview of the newly emerging field of cultural neurobiology. First, we highlight important theoretical perspectives that contribute to our motivation for understanding cultural neurobiology. Next, we briefly define and describe the function, measurement, and health-relevance of the autonomic nervous system, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, the immune/inflammatory systems, and allostatic load. We then present examples of cultural-neurobiological studies and provide definitions of key cultural constructs from extant literature, including perceived discrimination, stereotype threat, ethnic and racial identity, acculturation, and family processes. In the final section, we draw attention to adaptive cultural processes and additional biomarkers that hold promise for informing our understanding of transactions between culture and biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Culture and Biology Interplay
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781119181361
ISBN (Print)9781119181323
StatePublished - Aug 22 2017


  • Acculturation
  • Allostatic load
  • Culture
  • Ethnic and racial identity
  • Family processes
  • Immune
  • Neurobiology
  • Perceived discrimination
  • Physiological stress
  • Stereotype threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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