Self-orientation modulates the neural correlates of global and local processing
Liddel, BJ and Das, P and Battaglini, E and Malhi, GS and Felmingham, KL and Whitford, TJ and Bryant, RA, Self-orientation modulates the neural correlates of global and local processing, PLoS One, 10, (8) Article e0135453. ISSN 1932-6203 (2015) [Refereed Article]
Differences in self-orientation (or "self-construal") may affect how the visual environment is attended, but the neural and cultural mechanisms that drive this remain unclear. Behavioral studies have demonstrated that people from Western backgrounds with predominant individualistic values are perceptually biased towards local-level information; whereas people from non-Western backgrounds that support collectivist values are preferentially focused on contextual and global-level information. In this study, we compared two groups differing in predominant individualistic (N = 15) vs collectivistic (N = 15) self-orientation. Participants completed a global/local perceptual conflict task whilst undergoing functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scanning. When participants high in individualistic values attended to the global level (ignoring the local level), greater activity was observed in the frontoparietal and cingulo-opercular networks that underpin attentional control, compared to the match (congruent) baseline. Participants high in collectivistic values activated similar attentional control networks o only when directly compared with global processing. This suggests that global interference was stronger than local interference in the conflict task in the collectivistic group. Both groups showed increased activity in dorsolateral prefrontal regions involved in resolving perceptual conflict during heightened distractor interference. The findings suggest that self-orientation may play an important role in driving attention networks to facilitate interaction with the visual environment.