Shinobu Kitayama

Robert B Zajonc Collegiate Professor of Psychology, Professor of Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and Research Professor, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research
Shinobu   Kitayama


Throughout my career as a psychologist, I have investigated the role of culture in modifying, shaping, and even sometimes forming a variety of psychological processes including cognition, emotion, and motivation. In this work, the independence/interdependence theory of culture and self has been instrumental both as a heuristic device for generating new hypotheses and as an overarching theoretical frame within which to integrate diverse empirical findings. In more recent work, I have tried to expand this work by 1) looking specifically at origins of cultural variations, 2) expanding data base to non-student adult populations, and 3) beginning to explore underlying brain processes. I am hopeful that by pursuing these avenues of research, it will be possible to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of how culture and the human mind influence each other, and how culture influences the mind in such a way that culture becomes an integral element of the mind itself. I believe that this work has the potential of overcoming the traditional dichotomy between culture and nature a dichotomy that has plagued the field of social and behavioral sciences for a long time.