“Cultural attitudes are mostly acquired during childhood and adolescence in family and school environments and we may not realize how these attitudes ‘dictate’ the mode of our thoughts and the pattern of our brain’s activity even in a state of rest,” explained study author Gennady G. Knyazev of the Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine in Novosibirsk.
“Our data show that collectivist attitude prompts the engagement of brain regions involved in semantic processes and reasoning on moral issues, which, in its turn, prompt the appearance of others-related thoughts.”
“Collectivism-individualism is one of the major dimensions of culture and each culture has its position on this dimension,” Knyazev told PsyPost. “For instance, the United States is considered the most individualistic culture, whereas China and other East-Asian cultures are mostly collectivists.
“A typical individualist sees him/herself as fundamentally separate from others, whereas a typical collectivist considers him/herself as a representative of a group (e.g., family, social class, ethnic group and so on).”
“It could be expected that in a quiet resting condition, a collectivist would spontaneously think more about his/her close friends or relatives, whereas an individualist would think more about him/herself.”
“This association between cultural attitude and the content of thoughts has to have some reflection in the activity of the brain and we were interested to find out how brain’s activity mediates this association. The default mode network (DMN) is the brain functional network that is most active in the resting condition and is involved in self-referential and social cognition.”
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