Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Second Department

Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture

Reader 1

Tessa Solomon-Lane

Reader 2

Andrew Aisenberg

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Rights Information

© 2023 Kaitlyn A Penchina


Because science as it exists today is a cultural construction of the West, studies of neuroscience have often been limited by Western perspectives. In particular, the Western proclivity towards individualism has led to a field of neuroscience which has historically focused on studying single individuals, as opposed to social or collective neuroscience. For the most part, it has just been assumed that collective phenomena such as interpersonal emotions must be able to be reduced in terms of individual phenomena such as individual emotions. However, closer review reveals that interpersonal emotions have emergent properties that individual emotions alone do not account for. In other words, there is more to the emotions within interpersonal relationships than the simple transmission of individual emotions from one individual to another. Rather, there appear to be unique emotions associated with the abstract interpersonal relationships between individuals. These interpersonal emotions are neuroscientifically and qualitatively different from individual emotions. This could have huge ramifications for any field involving human interaction, from economics, to international relations, to mobilization for causes like climate change. In order to better understand these complex phenomena, a greater diversity of thought is needed in neuroscience.