The neural basis of independence versus interdependence orientations: a voxel-based morphometric analysis of brain volume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Sociocultural research has established independence and interdependence as two fundamental ways of thinking about oneself and the social world. Recent neuroscience studies further demonstrate that these orientations modulate brain activity in various self- and socially related tasks. In the current study, we explored whether the traits of independence and interdependence are reflected in anatomical variations in brain structure. We carried out structural brain imaging on a large sample of healthy participants (n = 265) who also completed self-report questionnaires of cultural orientations. Voxel-based morphometry analysis demonstrated that a relative focus of independence (vs. interdependence) was associated with increased gray-matter volume in a number of self-related regions, including ventromedial prefrontal cortex, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and right rostrolateral prefrontal cortex. These results provide novel insights into the biological basis of sociocultural orientations.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-529
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number4
Early online date1 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • independence orientation, interdependence orientation, gray-matter volume, voxel-based morphometry, open materials, open data