Previous work shows that as compared to European Americans, Asians are more holistic (or less focused) in perceptual processing. Drawing on this evidence, we expected that extra attention control would be recruited to perform focused processing for Asians and holistic processing for European Americans. Eight Asian American and 13 European American young adults judged whether a given framed-line was the same in length as the framed-line shown on the previous trial on the basis of either an absolute or relative criterion. Their brain activities were monitored with functional near infrared spectroscopy. As predicted, Asian Americans showed an increased activation in the parietal regions during the absolute (vs. relative) task, whereas European Americans showed an increased activation in the same regions during the relative (vs. absolute) task. No comparable pattern was observed for performance. The current work provides further evidence for compensatory attention that is engaged during culturally non-preferred tasks.
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We thank Dr. Laura Ann Petitto for making this software available to us, for details see Kovelman et al. 2009).
Because the data collection of the frontal brain region was unsuccessful from three participants (one Asian American and two European American participants), the data from 18 participants were analyzed for the brain activity in this region.
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We thank Dr. Petitto for affording us with the fNIRS data analyses software. We also thank fNIRS laboratory at the Center for Human Growth and Development (CHGD) and CHGD of the University of Michigan.
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Murata, A., Park, J., Kovelman, I. et al. Culturally non-preferred cognitive tasks require compensatory attention: a functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) investigation. Cult. Brain 3, 53–67 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40167-015-0027-y
- Framed-line task
- Holistic vs. analytic attention