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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/33137

Title: Culture shapes a mesolimbic response to human signals of dominance and subordination that associates with behavior
Authors: Freeman, Jonathan B.
Rule, Nicholas O.
Adams, Reginald B. Jr.
Ambady, Nalini
Keywords: culture
social neuroscience
dominance
social status
caudate
reward
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Freeman, J. B., Rule, N. O., Adams, R. B., Jr., & Ambady, N. (2009). Culture shapes a mesolimbic response to human signals of dominance and subordination that associates with behavior. NeuroImage, 47, 353-359.
Abstract: t has long been understood that culture shapes individuals' behavior, but how this is accomplished in the human brain has remained largely unknown. To examine this, we made use of a well-established cross- cultural difference in behavior: American culture tends to reinforce dominant behavior whereas, conversely, Japanese culture tends to reinforce subordinate behavior. In 17 Americans and 17 Japanese individuals, we assessed behavioral tendencies towards dominance versus subordination and measured neural responses using fMRI during the passive viewing of stimuli related to dominance and subordination. In Americans, dominant stimuli selectively engaged the caudate nucleus, bilaterally, and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), whereas these were selectively engaged by subordinate stimuli in Japanese. Correspondingly, Americans self-reported a tendency towards more dominant behavior whereas Japanese self-reported a tendency towards more subordinate behavior. Moreover, activity in the right caudate and mPFC correlated with behavioral tendencies towards dominance versus subordination, such that stronger responses in the caudate and mPFC to dominant stimuli were associated with more dominant behavior and stronger responses in the caudate and mPFC to subordinate stimuli were associated with more subordinate behavior. The ! ndings provide a ! rst demonstration that culture can " exibly shape functional activity in the mesolimbic reward system, which in turn may guide behavior.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/33137
Appears in Collections:UofT Faculty publications

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