Shinobu Kitayama, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Director, Culture and Cognition Program, Department of Psychology; Director, Center for Culture, Mind, and the Brain, University of Michigan Website | Publications | Abstract & Bio | @ShinobuKitayama
Abstract: Self-interest is considered a fundamental human motive; but the nature of the motivation to secure self-interest is not well understood. To address this issue, we assessed electrocortical responses of European Americans and Asians as they performed a flanker task while instructed to earn as many reward points as possible either for the self or for their same-sex friends. For European Americans, error-related negativity (ERN) – an ERP component contingent on error-responses – was significantly greater in the self– than in the friend-condition. Moreover, post-error slowing – an index of cognitive control to reduce errors – was observed in the self-condition, but not in the friend-condition. Neither of these self-centric effects was observed among Asians, consistent with prior cross-cultural behavioral evidence. Interdependent self-construal mediated the effect of culture on the ERN self-centric effect. Our findings provide the first evidence for a neural correlate of self-centric motivation, which becomes more salient outside of interdependent social relations.
Bio: Originally from Japan, Shinobu Kitayama received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where he is currently the Robert B. Zajonc Collegiate Professor of Psychology. He specializes in cultural psychology and cultural neuroscience. Throughout his career, he has drawn on a variety of scientific methods to understand the nature of cultural variations and similarities in self, cognition, emotion, and motivation. Before Michigan, he taught at Oregon, Kyoto, Stanford, and Chicago. He was a Fellow, twice, at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA (1995–1996, 2007–2008). A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010, he has recently been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is Editor-in-chief of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin since 2008.