Cognitive Sociology Developing the ‘Diversity Pathways’ Model in Cultural Neuroscience

Main Article Content

Dylan Scott Low
Myat Thazin Aung
Michael J. Day


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions is a model for cross-cultural studies. To Hofstede, culture is “mental programming” derived from the social environment, shaping behaviours. Yet, intercultural researcher Dr. Nguyen Phuong-Mai suggests Hofstede’s metaphor belies social determinism. With insights from Cultural Neuroscience, Nguyen proposes the Diversity Pathways model, marrying Evolutionary Biology and Cultural Sociology. Yet, unlike Hofstede’s model, Nguyen’s model is still developing as a unique expression of Cognitive Sociology, so is not yet realised for practical research. This paper attempts to reorient Diversity Pathways towards a practical methodological approach. To do this, it draws upon sociological insights from theorists Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and Jacques Derrida to analyse, and extend, a theoretical model of culture construction, offering a postmodernist pragmatic discourse. We propose a re-centring of Nguyen’s model to place culture at its core while addressing critical concerns on genealogy, différance, and socio-technicality. To demonstrate the utility of our proposal, we then draw upon the construction of institutionalised racism in the United States. This tentatively introduces the model’s value as a practical research tool for the discipline of Cultural Studies, introducing a new tool for researchers, which is particularly useful in underfunded, underprivileged, or remote contexts.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Original Articles


Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice (R. Nice, Trans.). Cambridge University Press. (Original work published 1972)

Bryman, A. (2016). Social research methods. Oxford University Press.

Calvo-Merino, B., Glaser, D.E., Grèzes, J., Passingham, R. E., & Haggard, P. (2005). Action observation and acquired motor skills: An fMRI study with expert dancers. Cerebral Cortex, 15(8), 1243–1249.

Cerulo, K. (2010). Mining the intersection of cognitive sociology and neuroscience. Poetics, 38(2), 115–132.

Chiao, J. Y., Cheon, B. K., Pompattananangkul, N., Mrazek, A. J., & Blizinsky, K. D. (2013). Cultural neuroscience: Understanding human diversity. In M.J. Gelfand, C.Y. Chiu, & Y.Y. Hong (Eds.), Advances in culture and psychology: Vol 4. (pp. 1–77). Oxford University Press.

Chomsky, N. (1984). On language and culture [Interview]. In W. Osiatynski (Ed.), Contrasts: Soviet and American thinkers discuss the future, (pp. 95–101). MacMillan.

Costandi, M. (2016). Neuroplasticity. The MIT Press.

Crawford, C. M. (2019). Competition and culture: The macroeconomic realities of critical thinking competencies for Thailand 4.0 and the ASEAN Economic Community. International Journal of Learning and Change, 11(4), 361–378.

Dawson, C. (2002). Practical research methods. How To Books.

de Geus, E. J., Wright, M. J., Martin, N. G., & Boomsma, D. J. (2001). Genetics of brain function and cognition. Behavior Genetics, 31(6), 489–495.

Derrida, J. (2016). Of grammatology (G. Chakravorty-Spivak, Trans.; 40th Anniversary Edition). Johns Hopkins University Press. (Original work published 1967)

Derrida, J. (1982). Margins of philosophy. (A. Bass, Trans.) The Harvester Press. (Original work published 1972)

DiMaggio, P. (1997). Culture and cognition. Annual Review of Sociology, 23(1), 263–287.

Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: An introduction (R. Hurley, Trans.; Vol. 1). Pantheon Books. (Original work published 1976)

Foucault, M. (1980). Language, counter-memory, practice. (D. F. Bouchard, & S. Simon, Trans.) Cornell University Press. (Original work published 1977)

Foucault, M. (1981). The order of discourse. In R. Young (Ed.), Untying the text: A post-structuralist reader (pp. 51–78). Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and punish (A. Sheridan, Trans.; 2nd ed.). Vintage Books. (Original work published 1975)

Fougère, M., & Moulettes, A. (2007). The construction of the modern west and the backward rest in Hofstede’s culture’s consequences. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 2(1), 1–19.

Guess, T. (2006). The social construction of whiteness: Racism by intent, racism by consequence. Critical Sociology, 32(4), 649–673.

Halliday, M., & Hasan, R. (1989). Language, context, and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. Oxford University Press.

Halliday, M., & Matthiessen, C. (1999). Construing experience through meaning: A language-based approach to cognition. Continuum.

Hickman, N. (2020). (Implicit) Knowledge, reasons, and semantic understanding. Mind & Language, 1–22.

Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1).

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. McGraw-Hill.

Jhangiani, R. (2019). Research methods in social psychology. In R. Biswas-Diener, & E. Diener (Eds.), Noba textbook series: Psychology. DEF Publishers.

Jones, M. L. (2007, June 24–26). Hofstede—Culturally questionable? [Paper presentation]. 2007 Oxford Business & Economics Conference, Oxford, UK.

Khaldi, K. (2017). Quantitative, qualitative or mixed research: Which research paradigm to use? Journal of Educational and Social Research, 7(2), 15–24.

Koopman, C. (2016). Must philosophy be obligatory? History versus metaphysics in Foucault and Derrida. In O. Custer, P. Deutscher, & S. Haddad (Eds.), Foucault/Derrida fifty years later: The futures of genealogy, deconstruction, and politics (pp. 63–79). Columbia University Press.

Lakoff, G. (2012). Explaining embodied cognition results. Topics in Cognitive Science, 4(4), 773–785.

Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. University of Chicago Press.

Latour, B. (1988). The pasteurization of France (A. Sheridan & J. Law, Trans.). Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1984).

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to Actor-Network theory. Oxford University Press.

Maseland, R., & van Hoorn, A. (2009). Measuring values for cross-cultural research. NiCE Working Papers.

Mateo, M., Cabanis, M., Stenmanns, J., & Krach, S., (2013). Essentializing the binary self: Individualism and collectivism in cultural neuroscience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7(289), 1–4.

Nguyen, P. M. (2017a). Intercultural communication: An interdisciplinary approach: When neurons, genes, and evolution joined the discourse. Amsterdam University Press.

Nguyen, P. M. (2017b). A critical analysis of cultural metaphors and static cultural frameworks with insight from cultural neuroscience and evolutionary biology. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 24(4), 530–553.

Nguyen, P. M. (2017c, October 14). Shifting paradigm of intercultural communication: When neurons, genes and evolution joined the discourse. [Paper presentation]. SIETAR UK Conference, London, United Kingdom.

Nguyen, P. M. (2019). Cross-Cultural management: With insights from brain science. Routledge.

Nguyen, P. M. (2020). Fear-Free Cross-Cultural communication: Toward a more balanced approach with insight from neuroscience. Frontiers in Communication, 5, 14.

Nielsen, J. (2004, February 29). Risks of quantitative studies. Nielsen Norman Group.

Pereira, M., & Álvaro, J. (2013). Social psychology: Research methods and techniques. Estudos de Psicologia, 18(1), 37–45.

Posner, M., & Rothbart, M. (2017). Integrating brain, cognition and culture. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science, 1, 3–15.

Rawley, J., & Behrendt, D. (2005). The transatlantic slave trade. University of Nebraska Press. (Original work published 1981).

Waters, T. (2014). Of looking glasses, mirror neurons, culture, and meaning. Perspectives on Science, 22(4), 616–649.

Wright, J. (2003). Poststructural methodologies—The body, schooling and health. In J. Evans, B. Davies, & J. Wright (Eds.), Body knowledge and control: Studies in the sociology of physical education and health (pp. 34–59). Routledge.

Yaaqoubi, J., & Reinecke, K. (2018, April). The use and usefulness of cultural dimensions in product development [Paper presentation]. Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Montreal: Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA.