Research has demonstrated differences in social and cognitive processes between East Asians and European Americans. Whereas East Asians have been characterized as being more sensitive to situational context and attending more to the perceptual field, European Americans have been characterized as being more focused on the object and being more field independent. The goal of the present experiment was to investigate differences in neural responses to target objects and stimulus context between East Asian Americans and European Americans using a three-stimulus novelty P3 event-related potential design. As hypothesized, European Americans displayed relatively greater target P3 amplitudes, indexing attention to target events, whereas East Asian Americans displayed relatively greater novelty P3 amplitudes, indexing attention to contextually deviant events. Furthermore, the authors found that interdependent self-construal mediated the relationship between culture and the novelty P3. These findings identify a specific pattern of neural activity associated with established cultural differences in contextual sensitivity. © 2008 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
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