Shihui Han: "Neural Basis of Cultural Influence on Self Construals"


I'll present some of our recent brain imaging studies that investigated cultural differences in self-construals. Basically, we imaged participants from Western and Chinese cultures or primed bicultural participants using Western and Chinese cultural symbols. We examined whether brain areas such as the medial prefrontal cortex involved in self trait judgment activate differently to the self and close others between participants from different cultures. Our brain imaging findings suggest that Chinese use the same neural structure (e.g., the medial prefrontal cortex) to represent the self and close others whereas English speaking Westerners use the same brain area to represent only the self. Our findings provide neural basis for understanding the cultural independent/interdependent diffrences in psychological structure of self-concept.

Dr. Shihui Han is a professor at the Department of Psychology, Peking University. He is the director of the Cultural and Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. He also serves as the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Peking University since December 2003. He is an associate editor of "Social Neuroscience" and "Acta Psychologica Sinica", and serves on the editorial board of "Cognitive Neurodynamics", "International Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging", and "Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis". He studies cognitive and neural mechanisms of visual perception and attention. He also studies neural substrates of social cognition such as self-referential processing, empathy, and theory-of-mind, and how cultures influence the underlying neural mechanisms. He has published over 90 research papers in journals such as Nature Review Neuroscience, Brain, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Psychological Science, Neuroimage, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Human Brain Mapping, Social Neuroscience, Neuropsychologia, Psychophysiology, Biological Psychology, Brain Research, Perception and Psychophysics, Brain Topography, Clinical Neurophysiology, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (Section A), PLoS ONE, etc