Neural cultural fit: non-social and social flanker task N2s and well-being in Canada
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Research has noted well-being benefits to having a cultural fit between a person and the environment. The more a person fits the environment, the greater their reported well-being. We tested if cultural fit is also seen with neural patterns, which we term neural cultural fit. To address this question, we measured European Canadian (EC) and East Asian (EA) electroencephalography data during non-social (switches) and social (face emotions) flanker tasks. Participants were asked to categorize center switches (up–down) and faces (happy–sad) that were surrounded by other switches or faces. The flanker tasks involved congruent lineups, which showed the same directions or emotions between center and surrounding stimuli, and incongruent lineups, with different directions or emotions between center and surrounding stimuli. As the target neural measure, we calculated N2 event related potentials. Larger N2s to incongruent than congruent lineups suggest more conflict to incongruent lineups. We found larger N2s to incongruent than congruent lineups for EAs, as compared to ECs, replicating previous findings showing more context sensitivity for EAs. We also found evidence of neural cultural fit, with individuals with more difference from N2 neural pattern averages set by ECs in Canada in the social task, reporting less well-being. Cultural fit was also observed with social orientation beliefs, but did not explain neural cultural fit. These findings are important as they suggests that cultural fit depends not only on the subjective experience of what we believe (e.g., self-reports), but also on the objective experience of how we think (e.g., neural patterns).
KeywordsCultural fit N2 and N200 Non-social versus social Flanker Cultural neuroscience Well-being
This research was partially funded by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada held by Anthony Singhal, with trainee support by a CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflict of interest.
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