Different selves: the impact of culture on the brain
10 / 2012 - 10 / 2017
Background There is substantial cultural diversity in human cognition, yet this has largely been ignored in neuroscientific studies. Recent studies have demonstrated that neural processes are culturally sensitive, giving rise to the development of cultural neuroscience. Aim To investigate the neural instantiation of cultural differences in self-representation and social decision-making along the key cultural dimensions of individualism and collectivism. Objectives and approach 1. To investigate cultural diversity in the neural correlates of (i) self-representation and (ii) social decision-making in a within-country cross-cultural comparison of three groups: Dutch, Moroccan or Turkish (hereafter Mediterranean) Dutch, Japanese or Chinese (hereafter East-Asian) Dutch, representing individualism, honour-based collectivism and Confucian-based collectivism respectively. This step will elucidate the neural instantiation of cultural differences in self-representation and social decision-making. 2. To investigate if any differences in the neural correlates of self-representation and social decision-making associated with collectivistic versus individualistic orientations depend on duration and timing of cultural experience in a cross-cultural comparison of Mediterranean and East-Asian immigrants of the first versus the third generation. This step examines the evidence for relationship between timing and duration of cultural exposure and neural activity, which would suggest a causal role of culture. 3. To investigate the effects of priming of an individualistic or collectivistic mindset on the neural correlates of self-representation and social decision-making in an experimental within-cultural study in two groups: Mediterranean/Dutch and East-Asian/Dutch individuals. This step examines if priming precipitates similar differences in neural activity as can be expected on the basis of the cross-cultural comparisons, which would suggest that degree of individualism / collectivism is the causal cultural factor. I will use fMRI to investigate patterns of neural activity while participants engage in (i) a self/other judgment paradigm drawing on representation of self, and (ii) a public goods paradigm drawing on social decision-making.
Culturen verschillen in de manier waarop mensen met elkaar omgaan. Zijn deze verschillen zichtbaar in het brein? Met behulp van een MRI-scanner bekijken psychologen welke hersengebieden actief worden wanneer mensen uit de Turkse, Chinese of Nederlandse cultuur sociale taken uitvoeren.