Abstract: Recent research suggests associations between cultural values (e.g., interdependence of self-construals) and brain activity in the social brain network. However, it is unclear whether such associations are influenced by genes. To examine whether the serotonin transporter gene promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) moderates the association between self-reported interdependence and brain activity underlying reflections on the self and a close other (i.e., mother), using functional MRI, we scanned adults with short/short (s/s) or long/long (l/l) alleles of 5-HTTLPR during reflection of attributes of the self and mother. We found that the association between a measure of interdependence and brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction, superior parietal cortex, insula, hippocampus, and cerebellum during reflection on mental attributes was moderated by 5-HTTLPR, being stronger in l/l than s/s carriers. The results suggest that the association between interdependence and the social brain network may be moderated by a specific gene polymorphism.
Bio: Dr. Shihui Han received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Science and Technology of China. He is a professor of psychology and the director of the Cultural and Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the Department of Psychology, Peking University. His early studies investigated cognitive and neural mechanisms of visual perception and attention. His current research programs focus the neural substrates of human social cognition such as self-reflective thoughts and empathy for pain. He is particularly interested in how cultures influence social cognition by modifying the underlying neural mechanisms. He serves as an associate editor of “Social Neuroscience”, “Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience”, and “Acta Psychologica Sinica”. He has published over 100 research papers in journals such as Nature Review Neuroscience, Brain, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Psychological Science, Neuroimage, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Human Brain Mapping, Social Neuroscience, Neuropsychologia, Psychophysiology, Biological Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, etc.