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  1. "Does culture play a role...?!“ Evaluation of culturaleffects on ToM: neurophysiological and behavioral aspects. by Blanka Šimůnková, Barbora Chvátalová, Lenka Sakálošová, Lucia Ukropová

  2. Culture as presumptionforTheoryof Mind • To positotherpeople`s mental states is typically human feat. • Cultural intelligence hypothesis: humanbeings have evolved some specialized social-cognitive skills for living and exchanging knowledge incultural groups: communicating with others, learning from others, and"reading the mind" of others in especially complex ways. (Hermann et al, 2007)

  3. Culturalvariationexists • There are someuniversals, but culturalvariationexists. • Social- cultureconstructionhypothesis : Somementalisticunderstandingsmightcomefromculture-specificexperiences. (Lilard, 1999) • Culturaldifferenceswithin USA: rural vs. Urban children (Lilard, 1999)

  4. Somereasonsforculturalvariations (Lillard, 1998) • ExternalDifferencesReflectingInternalOnes • OptionalConstructs • Variation in Precognitions • Existence • Need • Inference • Nuance

  5. http://gifs.gifbin.com/092012/1346951481_obama_gets_left_hanging_in_russia.gifhttp://gifs.gifbin.com/092012/1346951481_obama_gets_left_hanging_in_russia.gif

  6. Anotherassumptionsaboutculture and ToM: • folk /everyday psychology is the same and universal everywhere • innate predisposition to explain human behavior in terms of beliefs and desires (Fodor, 1987 in Oberle, 2009) • research with autistic children (Baron – Cohen, 2001) suggests a biological mechanism for the onset of mental reasoning • different socio-cultural systems form different frameworks for different cognitive categories such are social learning, experience processing, thinking about others etc. (Lillard, 1999)

  7. Another assumptionsaboutculture and ToM: • Wellman (2001) states, if an understanding of the mind is necessary for any kind of adult-like interaction then the tasks that reflect those interactions should be solved similarly in different cultural milieus • universal age transition during which children come to understand false • beliefs could be biologically rooted, although evidence in support of such universality would leave open the question of whether culturally universal childhood experiences are necessary for such understanding (Callaghan et al., 2005)

  8. How is it with non-western countries? • Most of the research in the field of children’s cognitive development has been carried out with children from Western cultures and even when non-Western cultures are sampled, they are almost exclusively industrial societies with formal, universal education therefore they share some important similarities with western cultures (Lillard, 1999; Callaghan et al., 2005; Oberle, 2009)

  9. Callaghan et al. (2005) investigated children’s performance on the same,standard FB task (hiding a trinket under one of three bowls) administered in 5 different countries: Sample: 270 children between age 30 to 72 months

  10. Results: The fundamental shift in understanding the impact of a FB on behavior appears to be a universal milestone of development that occurs between 3 to 5 years of age. Synchrony in the age at which children of diverse cultures pass the FB task undermines the claim that particular cultural views, such as a Western concept of mind, profoundly influence this very basic aspect of early mental-state reasoning, and strengthens a claim of universality. Whether the synchrony results more from biological maturation or from experiences that are universal across the cultures sampled, or both, remains at issue.

  11. Eva Oberle (2009) investigated the development of FB understanding was investigated among 3–5-year old Yapese and Fais children in Micronesia • Why Micronesia? • fishing and gathering culture (coconuts) • independent children from • Children often “adopted” by extended family

  12. 69 micronesian children in a culturally adjusted surprise content task by Hogrefe, Wimmer and Perner (1986) translated into Yapese and Ulithian • results: 3-year-old Micronesian preschoolers do not display understanding of FB measured with classical FB tasks, while 5-year-olds do • support for assumption of an important shift in understanding FB between early and late pre-school age • support for idea of a universal development of the understanding of FB in preschoolers, only predictor was “age” while “island” did not have a meaningful impact • limitations: • not included educational variables due to the lack of schooling system in Micronesia • limited cultural variety across Micronesia islands • FB understanding tested by one test from whole battery

  13. Does the synchrony results more from biological maturation or from experiences that are universal across the cultures sampled ? Or both ? • If biological maturation is the main factor responsible for the onset of false-belief understanding, then different cultural experiences would not have tremendous impact on the age of onset. • An analogous situation is learning to walk. Children the world over learn to walk at around 1 year of age, although one can hasten this achievement, as the Kipsigis(Kenya tribe) do, by providing experiences that strengthen the legs or slow it by providing ‘‘walker’’ experiences that might reduce the child’s drive to walk (Garrett, McElroy, & Staines, 2002) A biological maturation account is consistent with the evidence accrued thus far, including synchrony in the onset of false-belief understanding across cultures. • Children with autism develop false belief understanding very late, and possibly by different mechanisms than other children (Baron-Cohen, 1995; Leslie & Roth, 1994). Children with older siblings (Perner, Ruffman, & Leekham, 1994; Ruffman, Perner, Naito, Parkin, & Clements,1998), children who engage in more pretend role play (Lillard, 2002), and children whose parents talk about mental states more understand false belief earlier than other children, but not much earlier (Ruffman, Slade, & Crowe, 2002), and children from low-income homes develop the understanding later than other children, but not much later (Holmes, Black, & Miller,1996). (Callaghan et.al, 2005; Wellman, 2001; Liu et al. 2008)

  14. Literature: • Baron-Cohen, S., O’Riordan, M., Stone, V., Jones, R., Plaisted, K. (1999). Recognition of faux-pas by normally developing children and children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism Development Disorder, 29, 407-418. • Callaghan, T., Rochat, P., Lillard, A., Claux, M. L., Odden, H., Itakura, S., Tapanya, S. andSingh, S. (2005). Synchrony in the Onset of Mental State reasoning – Evidences from fivecultures. Psychological Science 16, 378-384. • Lillard, A. (1998). Ethnopsychologies: Cultural variations in theoriesof mind. Psychological Bulletin, 123, 3–32. • Liu, D., Wellman, H. M., Tardif, T., & Sabbagh, M. A. (2008). Theory of mind development in Chinese children: a meta-analysis of false-belief understanding across cultures and languages. Developmental psychology, 44(2), 523-31. • Oberle,E. (2009). The development of theory of mind reasoning in Micronesian children. Journal of cognition & culture, 9, 39-56. • Wellman, H.M., Cross, D., & Watson, J. (2001). A meta-analysis offalse belief reasoning: The truth about false belief. Child Development,72, 655–684.

  15. Cross-cultural differences in neural activation during ToMTasks

  16. ToM: Culture and Beyond Please click the following link to view the third part of our presentation by BarboraChvatalova: http://prezi.com/yo4v6qfdn_m6/culture-and-tom/

  17. recap • twomainapproaches: • a)modularb) distributed core systems and secondary systems

  18. mainareas • medialprefrontal • righttemporal-parietal (visuospatial – tracking) • righthemisphere • amygdala system • languagecenters ? - mixed evidence

  19. so what does culture have to do with that? There is a wide range of cognitive differences • EASTERN: • interdependent style that emphasizes the fundamental connections between people in social contexts • relartional grouping of objects • attention: • context • WESTERN: • independent style that stresses self-focused attention • categorical grouping of objects • attention: • salient objects

  20. 2main studies • Research team: ChiyokoKobayashi, Gary H. Glover, Elise Temple • Cultural and linguistic influence on neural bases of ‘Theory of Mind’:An fMRI study with Japanese bilinguals (adults) • Cultural and linguistic effects on neural bases of‘Theoryof Mind’ in American and Japanese children

  21. Children • 2nd orderToM tasks(he thinksshethinks) • Americannatives and Japanesebilinguals • 2 typesoftasks: cartoons (non-verbal), stories (verbal) +control • 5 groups: • story: • American • Japanesewithenglishsimuli, • Japanesewith japan stimili • Cartoon: • Japanese • American • No difference in overal performance betweengroups

  22. Japanese American explanation Left superior temporal sulcus Left inferior temporal gyrus Right tpj weakened self–other distinction in Japanese culture, because the ability to distinguish self from others engages the right TPJ75,76 the left anterior superior temporal sulcus and temporal pole temporal pole has been suggested to integrate sensory information and limbic inputsand to connect past experiences with material that is currently being processed60, the authors suggested that Japanese children had to integrate sensory and limbic inputs more than American children

  23. ADULTS • American monolinguals, Japanese biliguals • 3 groups: • americanmono, • Japanese L1 (japanese) • Japanese L2(English) • 2nd order Tom Task

  24. conclusion • The diminished activity in the TPJ area in Japanese adults and children during the ToM tasks might represent the demoted sense of self-other distinction in the Japaneseculture. • There are differences between adults and children – possibly due to maturation

  25. Resources: • Kobayashi, C., Glover, G.H., Temple, E.: The diminished activity in the TPJ area in Japanese adults and children during the ToM tasks might represent the demoted sense of self-other distinction in the Japaneseculture.Brain and Language, 98, 2006, 210–220 • Kobayashi, C., Glover, G.H., Temple, E.: Cultural and linguistic effects on neural bases of ‘Theory of Mind’ in American and Japanese children. BRAINRESEARCH, 1164, 2007, 95–107 • Siegal, M., Varley, R.:Neural systems involved in “Theory of mind”. NEUROSCIENCE, Vol. 3, 2002, 463-461 • Han, S., Northoff, G.:Culture-sensitive neuralsubstrates of human cognition: a transcultural neuroimagingapproach. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2008, vol.9, 646-654