Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology

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Cultural Neuroscience in Translation

Saturday, April 9th, 2016
9:00 AM to 4:30 PM; Reception to Follow

The 30th Annual Claremont Symposium in Applied Social Psychology features a set of distinguished speakers in the growing field of Cultural Neuroscience.  Culture and the Brain were once thought to represent opposite sides of the nature-nurture debate.  Today, the field represents our understanding of the complex interactions of culture, the mind, brain, and behavior.  Our speakers will present their cutting edge research providing insights into new ways to understand culture through the lens of neuroscience, including neural mechanisms of the self, socialization, mirroring, and emotion.  Furthermore, a panel of speakers will share their translation expertise in how this field currently is and may be used in the future by those in the health, business, and other applied settings.

Official Schedule:

Continental breakfast/registration: 8:00 to 9:00 AM

Opening remarks: 9:00 – 9:15 AM. Sharon Goto

Morning presentations: 9:15 AM – 11:45 AM

  • 9:15 – 10:00. Sukhvinder Obhi
  • 10:00 – 10:45. Takahiko Masuda
  • Morning Break. 10:45 – 11:00
  • 11:00 – 11:45. Shinobu Kitayama

Lunch 11:45 – 1:15 PM (on site with pre-registration)

Afternoon presentations: 1:15 – 4:30

  • 1:15 – 2:00. Eva Telzer
  • 2:00 – 2:45. Liz Losin
  • Afternoon Break. 2:45 – 3:00
  • 3:00 – 3:30. Ajay Satpute
  • 3:30 – 4:30. Panel Discussion

Wine and cheese reception: 4:30 – 5:30 PM

Shinobu Kitayama, University of Michigan
Cultural Acquisition: Accomplishment So Far and Future Directions

Shinobu Kitayama received a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where he is currently Robert B. Zajonc Collegiate Professor of Psychology. His research interest resolves around cultural variations in the self and some cognitive, emotional, and motivational processes that are linked to it. In the recent years, he has contributed to a newly emerging field of cultural neuroscience by investigating the dynamic, recursive interaction between culture and the brain. His current work focuses on the relevance of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in understanding human culture. He previously taught at several institutions including the University of Oregon, Kyoto University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago. He was an elected Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences (1995-1996 and 2007-2008), received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2010-2011), held the Earnest Hilgard Visiting Professorship at Stanford (2011), and has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Elizabeth Losin, University of Miami
Sociocultural Influences on Pain Perception: A Cultural Neuroscience Approach

Elizabeth Losin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Social and Cultural Neuroscience Lab at the University of Miami. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA in 2012 and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Colorado Boulder before coming to the University of Miami at the start of 2015. Her passion lies in combining her training in anthropology and neuroscience to explore the bidirectional relationship between culture and the brain. She has investigated how humans acquire cultural beliefs and practices through imitation, how these beliefs and practices shape psychology and brain function by comparing individuals with different sociocultural backgrounds, and how both processes impact human health and health care. She is currently focusing on how cultural experiences (e.g., discrimination) and social situations (e.g., the doctor-patient relationship) influence pain perception and the brain mechanisms underlying it. She uses a wide range of brain-based (fMRI), behavioral (psychophysiology), and analytical techniques and is also passionate about sharing scientific knowledge and enthusiasm with the general public. Dr. Losin has received fellowship and research support from National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Foundation for Psychocultural Research.

Takahiko Masuda, University of Alberta
Culture and Attention to Context: Investigating Cultural Variations in Social Judgment and Aesthetic Preferences between North Americans and East Asians

Dr. Taka Masuda was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied at Hokkaido University, Kyoto University, and received his PhD in Culture and Cognition in 2003 from the University of Michigan. Dr. Masuda’s research has mainly focused on cultural similarities and differences in cognition and perception, notably attention processes. He won the Japanese Psychological Association Award for International Contributions to Psychology in 2010, and his textbook “Cultural Psychology (in Japanese)” was awarded the Best Book of the Year by the Japanese Society of Social Psychology in 2011. Currently, Dr. Masuda is an associate professor at the University of Alberta and an affiliate researcher at the Center for Experiment Research in Social Sciences at Hokkaido University. He is recently investigating cultural variations in perception of foreground-background consistency using ERP methodology.

Sukhvinder Obhi, McMaster University
Priming Effects on Brain and Behavior: Implications for Culture and Society

Sukhvinder S. Obhi is an Associate professor and Director of the Social Brain, Body and Action lab in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University. He obtained his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London and was a visiting graduate fellow at Harvard Medical School during that time. Dr. Obhi completed postdoctoral training at what is now the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University, in London, Ontario. Prior to joining the faculty at McMaster University in 2014, he was an Assistant and then Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Dr. Obhi’s research interests span several areas and include a focus on the interplay between mirroring and social capacities such as mimicry, memory for observed actions and social perception. He has published seminal research on the effects of social variables such as self-construal, power and narcissism, on mirroring and other cognitive processes, and has a long standing interest in volitional action and the sense of agency in both individual and social action settings. Dr Obhi has served as a reviewer for many international funding agencies and is currently an associate editor for Acta Psychologica, and is a co-editor for Experimental Brain Research.

Ajay Satpute, Pomona College
Emotion Perception: A Decision-Making Approach

Ajay Satpute is a psychologist and neuroscientist studying how people partition their subjective experiences into socially meaningful categories. His work focuses primarily on emotional experiences, and he draws on behavioral and neuroscience methods to develop a psychological and neural model for how people bound and label their experience as—for example—moments of ‘anger’, ‘fear’, or ‘happiness.’ A long-term goal of his work is to enable predictions for the kinds of categories people use to bound their experiences. Doing so may help triangulate upon what another person’s subjective experience is like (i.e. bridging the subjectivity gap), and may also help inform questions of enduring theoretical interest, such as: in what conditions people’s subjective experiences match their nonverbal behaviors or choices, and whether and how language may shape experience. To address these questions, Satpute uses behavioral studies and a broad array of neuroimaging tools ranging from high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 7 Tesla to ambulatory imaging using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

Eva Telzer, University of Illinois
Cultural Values and Familial Influence on Adolescent Health and Neurocognition

Eva Telzer is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She received her PhD in developmental psychology in 2012 from UCLA. Her research uses neuroimaging methods to examine social relationships, decision making, and the adjustment of youth, particularly within a cultural context. She has authored over 50 publications, and has received numerous awards for her work, including a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, a Jacobs Young Scholars Grant, an SRCD and SRA dissertation award, and was named a 2015 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.

Symposium Organizers

Sharon Goto, Pomona College

Sharon Goto is Professor of Psychology at Pomona College and Asian American Studies in the Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies. Her research focuses on how culture affects the way information is processed. In particular, she is interested in how biculturals like Asian Americans negotiate different cultural contexts, and how cultural values shape bicultural experiences.

Richard Lewis, Pomona College

Richard Lewis is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Pomona College. His research uses event-related potentials to understand how cultural differences in the conception of the self affect how our brains process information about ourselves, others, and our environment.

Location and Registration
Open to the Public (Registration Required)

We are proud to offer attendance for the Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology at the following rates:

  • Students: $25
  • Professionals and Academics: $50
  • Free to Claremont Colleges faculty, students, and staff (must register in advance by emailing

The symposium will take place in:

Albrecht Auditorium in the Stauffer Hall of Learning
Claremont Graduate University
925 N. Dartmouth Ave
Claremont CA 91711

Claremont Graduate University is located off of the I-10 Freeway, around 30 miles east of Los Angeles, CA.

For more information, e-mail Marcella Camberos, Director of External Affairs for the Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences in the School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation, at or call (909) 607-9013.