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5-HTTLPR polymorphism moderates the association between a cultural value and the social brain network

Shi­hui Han, PhD, Pro­fes­sor, Depart­ment of Psy­chol­ogy; Direc­tor, Cul­ture and Social Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Lab­o­ra­tory, Peking Uni­ver­sity   Web­site  |   Pub­li­ca­tions  

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.