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Culture wires the brain: A cognitive neuroscience perspective
Date:8/3/2010

erners to become less oriented to self and East Asians to conceivably become more self-focused."

While numerous studies suggest that culture may affect neural function, there is also limited evidence for the effect of cultural experiences on brain structure. A recent study conducted by Park and Michael Chee of Duke/National University of Singapore showed evidence for thicker frontal cortex (areas involved in reasoning) in Westerners compared to East Asians, whereas East Asians had thicker cortex in perceptual areas. Park and Huang observe that using neuroimaging to study the impact of culture on neuroanatomy faces many challenges. They write, "The data are collected from two groups of participants who typically differ in many systematic ways besides their cultural values, rendering interpretation of any differences found quite difficult." In addition, for each study, it is important that the MRI machines use identical imaging hardware and software.

The authors conclude, "This research is an important domain for understanding the malleability of the human brain and how differences in values and social milieus sculpt the brain's structure and function."


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Contact: Keri Chiodo
kchiodo@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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