Previously, neuro-imaging studies have only observed the amygdala’s response to emotional face stimuli of the same cultural environment. This study went further and tested the amygdala’s response to participants of different cultures. In the study there were 22 adult participants: 12 native Japanese living in Japan (6 men and 6 women) and 10 Caucasians living in the United States (5 men and 5 women). The stimuli used to arouse the amygdala’s reactivity were 80 digitized grayscale pictures of faces that had different expressions. The facial expressions were of the four: neutral, happy, angry, and fearful. The photos were of 20 Japanese and 20 Caucasian men and women taken from the two groups. Participants were tested based on their own self-identified culture. The experimenters who conducted the studies used the participant’s native language. The independent variable in the study was the faces from the different cultures and the dependent variable was the amygdala’...
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... I learned that human beings are able to differentiate expressions between cultures. The common expression to fear something or feel threatened is easily detectable. This is important in social psychology, where people are more likely to help others out in situations. People may have more amygdala reactivity to faces of their own race because they feel more threatened when another individual is harmed or threatened. Studies in social psychology show that people sympathesize more with their own races, which explains the great reactivity in the amygdala.
Chiao, J. Y., Iidaka, T., Gordon, H. L., Nogawa, J., Bar, M., Aminoff, E., Sadato, N., & Ambaday, M. (2008). Cultural specificity in amygdala response to fear faces. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(12), 2167-2174. Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/group/ipc/pubs/2008ChiaoJOCN.pdf
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