The dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) moderates cultural difference in independent versus interdependent social orientation

Shinobu Kitayama, Anthony King, Carolyn Yoon, Steve Tompson, Sarah Huff, Israel Liberzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research suggests that cultural groups vary on an overarching dimension of independent versus interdependent social orientation, with European Americans being more independent, or less interdependent, than Asians. Drawing on recent evidence suggesting that the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) plays a role in modulating cultural learning, we predicted that carriers of DRD4 polymorphisms linked to increased dopamine signaling (7- or 2-repeat alleles) would show higher levels of culturally dominant social orientations, compared with noncarriers. European Americans and Asian-born Asians (total N = 398) reported their social orientation on multiple scales. They were also genotyped for DRD4. As in earlier work, European Americans were more independent, and Asian-born Asians more interdependent. This cultural difference was significantly more pronounced for carriers of the 7- or 2-repeat alleles than for noncarriers. Indeed, no cultural difference was apparent among the noncarriers. Implications for potential coevolution of genes and culture are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1169-1177
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Cross-cultural differences
  • Genetics
  • Open materials
  • Social cognition
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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