Culture self and medial prefrontal cortex
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Culture, self, and medial prefrontal cortex. Ying Zhu (Department of Psychology, Peking University) May, 2007. The cover picture of Journal of cognitive neuroscience 2002. Abstract. How to understand the interaction among 3 factors: culture, self, and medial prefrontal cortex?

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Culture self and medial prefrontal cortex

Culture, self, and medial prefrontal cortex

Ying Zhu

(Department of Psychology, Peking University)

May, 2007


The cover picture of journal of cognitive neuroscience 2002

The cover picture of Journal of cognitive neuroscience 2002


Abstract

Abstract

How to understand the interaction among 3 factors: culture, self, and medial prefrontal cortex?

How do cultural factors influence neural basis of self-representation?

1.“People in different cultures have strikingly different construals of the self.” (Markus & Kitayama, 1991).

2.“If the self is different, all process that implicate the self should take different forms.” (Markus & Kitayama, 2003).

3.If the self-processing is different, the neural activation of self should take different forms.


Self as cultural product cultural differences in self construal 1

Self as cultural product : Cultural differences in self-construal(1)

Fig.1 Two construals of mental self

(Markus & Kitayama,1991).


Self as cultural product cultural differences in self construal 2

Self as cultural product : Cultural differences in self-construal(2)

  • Independent (or unconnected) self-construal in western cultures emphasizes separation of the self from others; in contrast, interdependent (or connected) self-construal in East Asian cultures emphasizes the fundamental connectedness of human being to each other.


Cultural differences in information processing related to self 1

Cultural differences in information processing related to self (1)

  • “If the self is different, all processes that implicate the self should take different forms” (Markus & Kitayama, 2003).


Cultural differences in information processing related to self 2

Cultural differences in information processing related to self (2)

  • Independent selves are often attended to self-focused information and attended to the self more than they do to others including intimate others such as mother, which result in a better memory of information about the self (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Conway et al., 2005;Chi-Yue Chiu & Ying-Yi Hong,2006).


Cultural differences in information processing related to self 21

Cultural differences in information processing related to self (2)

  • Klein et al. (1989) and Heatherton et al. (2006) have shown that in westerners, the using of descriptive tasks for making judgments about well-known others (e.g., “Does this trait describe your mother/best friend?”) has produced memory performance inferior to that found with self-reference.


Cultural differences in information processing related to self 22

Cultural differences in information processing related to self (2)

  • Table 1 Recognition ratio in tasks for American*

* Reprinted with permission from

Heatherton et al, 2006.


Cultural differences in information processing related to self 3

Cultural differences in information processing related to self (3)

  • Interdependent selves, in contrast, are generally sensitive to information related to significant others and attended to intimate others such as mother as much as they do to the self, which result in a better memory of information about the collective self (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Conway et al., 2005;Chi-Yue Chiu & Ying-Yi Hong,2006).


Cultural differences in information processing related to self 31

Table 2 Remember and Know responses in tasks for Chinese

Zhu et al. (2002) and Zhang et al. (2002) have shown that in Chinese participants, well-known other-reference (mother/father/best friend-reference) is comparable to self-reference in memory performance.

Cultural differences in information processing related to self (3)

* A Chinese writer.


Self is correlated with mpfc

Self is correlated with MPFC

  • Self-referential processing yielded activations of MPFC. That is, the memory advantage of self-reference is correlated with activation of MPFC (reprinted with permission from Northoff et al., 2006)


Self is correlated with mpfc1

Self is correlated with MPFC

  • For Chinese, If self-reference is correlated with activation of MPFC andmother-reference is comparable to self-reference, then mother-reference will also yielded activation of MPFC.

  • mother-reference is comparable to self-reference, so the mother-reference will yield activations of MPFC; For Westerners, in contrast, mother-reference is inferior to self-reference, so the mother-reference will not yield activations of MPFC. This cultural differences in self-reference effect is the basis for finding the cultural differences in MPFC. Zhu et al. (2007) have found the cultural differences in MPFC in a fMRI study using both Chinese and Westerners as subjects.


Fig 2 schema of the design of one scan ying zhu et al 2007

Fig.2 Schema of the design of one scan (Ying Zhu et al., 2007).


Cultural differences in mpfc 1

Cultural differences in MPFC (1)

Fig.3MPFC activity associated with mother-judgment was increased for Chinese but decreased for Westerners (Zhu, Zhang, Fan & Han, 2007).


Cultural differences in mpfc 2

Cultural differences in MPFC (2)

For westerners, best friend-reference is inferior to self-reference in memory performance, so the friend-reference will not yield activations of MPFC. Heatherton et al. (2006) have confirmed this.

Fig.4 Self-reference yielded MPFC activations but friend-reference decreased MPFC activations. (Reprinted with permission from Heatherton et al.2006).


Abstract1

Abstract

  • 1.“People in different cultures have strikingly different construals of the self.” (Markus & Kitayama, 1991).

  • 2.“If the self is different, all process that implicate the self should take different forms.” (Markus & Kitayama, 2003).

  • 3.If the self-processing is different, the neural activation of self should take different forms.


Conclusion summary of present position

Conclusion (Summary of present position)

  • We believe that the differences in information processing related to self, activations of MPFC related to self that we have shown are driven by differences in self-construal. That is, there is a causal chain running from culture ( self-construal) to information processing related to self (self-reference effect) to activations of MPFC related to self.

  • This conclusion was reinforced by self-construal priming study.


Self construal priming study 1

Self-construal priming study(1)

  • Researchers have used an self-construal priming procedure to activate either the independent self or the interdependent self for the same Western person in a controlled experiment and they found that interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal priming has a temporary effect on the way participants process information (Gardner et al., 1999;Chi-Yue Chiu & Ying-Yi Hong,2006,148-152).


Self construal priming study 2

Self-construal priming study(2)

  • Jie Sui and Shihui Han(2007) used fMRI to assess if self-construal priming can change self-awareness induced during face perception in adults. Chinese participants were scanned while judging head orientations of the self or a familiar face after reading essays containing independent or interdependent pronouns (e.g.,”I” or “We”).


Self construal priming study 3

Self-construal priming study(3)

  • Jie Sui & Shihui Han(2007) found that the neural

    activity in the right middle frontal cortex was

    increased to the self than familiar faces, which

    was consistent with the current theory about

    self-face recognition (Keenan et al.,2000),the

    right frontal activity differentiating between the

    self and familiar faces was enlarged by the

    independent relative to interdependent self-

    construal priming.


Self construal priming study 31

Self-construal priming study(3)


Conclusion final remarks

Conclusion (Final remarks)

  • Cultural neuroscience says that ,not only does

    the brain control cognition and socio-cultural

    interactions, but it also works the other way

    round: Culture also shapes and modifies brain

    structure and function (Shu-Chen Li,2003; Wexler,2006; Chiao & Ambady,2007).


Thanks to

Thanks to:

Li Zhang, Jie Sui & Shihui Han

(Department of Psychology, Peking University)

Jin Fan

(Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York)

Chi-Yue Chiu & Ying-yi Hong

(Psychology, University of Illinois)

Nalini Ambady

(Psychology, Tufts University)


Thank you

Thank You!


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