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Long-term cultural experiences influence neural response to one's own and friend's faces. The present study investigated whether an individual's culturally specific pattern of neural activity to faces can be modulated by temporary access to other cultural frameworks using a self-construal priming paradigm. Event-related potentials were recorded from British and Chinese adults during judgments of orientations of one's own and friend's faces after they were primed with independent and interdependent self-construals. We found that an early frontal negative activity at 220-340 ms (the anterior N2) differentiated between one's own and friend's faces in both cultural groups. Most remarkably, for British participants, priming an interdependent self-construal reduced the default anterior N2 to their own faces. For Chinese participants, however, priming an independent self-construal suppressed the default anterior N2 to their friend's faces. These findings indicate fast modulations of culturally specific neural responses induced by temporary access to other cultural frameworks.

Original publication




Journal article


Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci

Publication Date





326 - 332


Adolescent, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Brain, Brain Mapping, Culture, Electroencephalography, Evoked Potentials, Visual, Face, Female, Friends, Humans, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Reaction Time, Recognition, Psychology, Young Adult