Temperament trait of sensory processing sensitivity moderates cultural differences in neural response


    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

This study focused on a possible temperament-by-culture interaction. Specifically, it explored whether a basic temperament/personality trait (sensory processing sensitivity; SPS), perhaps having a genetic component, might moderate a previously established cultural difference in neural responses when making context-dependent vs context-independent judgments of simple visual stimuli. SPS has been hypothesized to underlie what has been called inhibitedness or reactivity in infants, introversion in adults, and reactivity or responsivness in diverse animal species. Some biologists view the trait as one of two innate strategies—observing carefully before acting vs being first to act. Thus the central characteristic of SPS is hypothesized to be a deep processing of information. Here, 10 European-Americans and 10 East Asians underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing simple visuospatial tasks emphasizing judgments that were either context independent (typically easier for Americans) or context dependent (typically easier for Asians). As reported elsewhere, each group exhibited greater activation for the culturally non-preferred task in frontal and parietal regions associated with greater effort in attention and working memory. However, further analyses, reported here for the first time, provided preliminary support for moderation by SPS. Consistent with the careful-processing theory, high-SPS individuals showed little cultural difference; low-SPS, strong culture differences.

    loading  Loading Related Articles