Individual Differences

For a given neural Bayesian operation, an important consideration is the extent to which it is universal vs. localized across various environmental contexts. Thus, beyond conceptual modeling and experimental studies, we are interested in evaluating how neural mechanisms differ across different individuals. To do this, we examine response differences across individuals with different cultural backgrounds or profiles.

1. Cultural Differences

Apart from the influence of biological aging over time, which our lab evaluates in experiments comparing younger to older adults, time in an environment also increases our experience within a given context [1,2,3,4]. In particular, we consider that being embedded in a given socio-cultural context biases our brain system to dynamically form neural operations that are subjectively adapted to that objective environment. In continuation with past studies showing cultural differences in neural correlates underlying perceptual processing, our lab further demonstrates cultural differences in neural responses to differential probabilistic outcomes during decision-making [5].

2. Resilience

Beyond the influence of socio-cultural experiences in shaping our neurocomputations, our meta-cognitive strategies also instantiates constraints and motivational processes that enable us to navigate the environment. In these studies, we consider how to characterize or formalize the resilience of a person’s brain functional system, and also to modulate it.


1. Goh, J. O. S.* (Sep, 2021). Acculturation by Plasticity and Stability in Neural Processes: Considerations for Global Mental Health Challenges. In J. Chiao, S. C. Li, R. Turner, S. Y. Lee-Tauler, B. Pringle (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Neuroscience and Global Mental Health. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, Ch. 22. [url]

2. Su, Y. S., Goh, J. O. S.* (May, 2020). Cognitive aging and culture: Older brain predictions about different environments. In A. Thomas & A. Gutchess (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Aging. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [url]

3. Goh, J. O. S.*, Li, C. Y., Tu, Y. Z., Dallaire-Théroux, C. (Jan, 2020). Visual cognition and culture. In Otto Pedraza (Ed.), Clinical Cultural Neuroscience: An Integrative Approach to Cross-Cultural Neurospsychology. NY, USA: Oxford University Press. [url]

4. Gutchess, A. H.*, Goh, J. O.* (2013). Refining concepts and uncovering biological mechanisms for cultural neuroscience. Psychological Inquiry, 24(1), 31-36.

5. Lee, C.-Y., Chen, C.-C., Mair, R. W., Gutchess, A., & Goh, J. O. S. (2021). Culture-related differences in the neural processing of probability during mixed lottery value-based decision-making. Biological Psychology, 166, 108209.