Cristina E Salvador

Cristina E Salvador

Assistant Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

External Address: 
417 Chapel Drive, Box 90086, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
417 Chapel Drive, Box 90086, Durham, NC 27708


As a social and cultural psychologist, I examine how culture (a set of meanings and practices that make up daily realities we face) interfaces with biology to influence our thinking, feeling, and behavior. I analyze the influence of culture at multiple levels, including the brain, everyday language use, implicit measures, and big data. To pursue this overarching research agenda, I take three complementary approaches.

First, one powerful way to examine cultural influences is to draw systematic comparisons between groups. In one line of work, I find the psychological consequences of interdependence in cultures outside of East Asia (e.g., among Latin Americans, Indians, Arabs and Africans) are very different from what is documented in the literature. These ‘varieties of interdependence’ I am uncovering provide a new framework to think about the most studied construct in cultural psychology: interdependence.

Second, while many scholars acknowledge the importance of culture, there is debate about how deep cultural influences extend. I examine this by testing whether cultural differences are reflected in spontaneous neural responses. This approach has not only provided a new theoretical perspective for the study of the culture, but allowed the field to gain insights into culture that could not have been obtained with other methods. I describe two of these insights below, which include (i) cultural differences in default resting states and (ii) the nature of self-enhancement and self-criticism.

Third, daily social realities defined by social norms constitute a cultural environment. Yet, people are often unaware of their influence. To understand the influence of norms, I have examined (i) cultural factors that predict the spontaneous reactions to norms and (ii) how nations with more flexible relational norms have suffered a faster spread of COVID-19.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 2021

  • M.S., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 2019

  • B.A., Pomona College 2015

Salvador, Cristina E., et al. “How Spanish speakers express norms using generic person markers.Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 1, Mar. 2022, p. 5016. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41598-022-08675-2. Full Text

Kitayama, S., et al. “Culture and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Multiple Mechanisms and Policy Implications.” Social Issues and Policy Review, vol. 16, no. 1, Jan. 2022, pp. 164–211. Scopus, doi:10.1111/sipr.12080. Full Text

Salvador, Cristina E., et al. “Self-referential processing accounts for cultural variation in self-enhancement versus criticism: An electrocortical investigation.Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, Nov. 2021. Epmc, doi:10.1037/xge0001154. Full Text

Kraus, Brian, et al. “Oscillatory alpha power at rest reveals an independent self: A cross-cultural investigation.Biological Psychology, vol. 163, July 2021, p. 108118. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2021.108118. Full Text Open Access Copy

Yu, Qinggang, et al. “Racial residential segregation and economic disparity jointly exacerbate COVID-19 fatality in large American cities.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1494, no. 1, June 2021, pp. 18–30. Epmc, doi:10.1111/nyas.14567. Full Text

Hurley, Eric A., et al. “Self-construal and communalism in Costa Rica: Subjective attitudes vs. implicit behavioral tendencies.” Current Psychology, vol. 40, no. 4, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, Apr. 2021, pp. 1711–19. Crossref, doi:10.1007/s12144-018-0096-0. Full Text

Salvador, Cristina E., et al. “Interdependent self-construal predicts reduced sensitivity to norms under pathogen threat: An electrocortical investigation.Biological Psychology, vol. 157, Nov. 2020, p. 107970. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2020.107970. Full Text

Salvador, Cristina E., et al. “Relational Mobility Predicts Faster Spread of COVID-19: A 39-Country Study.Psychological Science, vol. 31, no. 10, Oct. 2020, pp. 1236–44. Epmc, doi:10.1177/0956797620958118. Full Text Open Access Copy

Berg, Martha K., et al. “Mandated Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination predicts flattened curves for the spread of COVID-19.Science Advances, vol. 6, no. 32, Aug. 2020, p. eabc1463. Epmc, doi:10.1126/sciadv.abc1463. Full Text

Salvador, Cristina E., et al. “When norm violations are spontaneously detected: an electrocortical investigation.Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 15, no. 3, May 2020, pp. 319–27. Epmc, doi:10.1093/scan/nsaa035. Full Text