Culture, gaze and the neural processing of fear expressions

Reginald B. Adams, Robert G. Franklin, Nicholas O. Rule, Jonathan B. Freeman, Kestutis Kveraga, Nouchine Hadjikhani, Sakiko Yoshikawa, Nalini Ambady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The direction of others' eye gaze has important influences on how we perceive their emotional expressions. Here, we examined differences in neural activation to direct-versus averted-gaze fear faces as a function of culture of the participant (Japanese versus US Caucasian), culture of the stimulus face (Japanese versus US Caucasian), and the relation between the two. We employed a previously validated paradigm to examine differences in neural activation in response to rapidly presented direct-versus averted-fear expressions, finding clear evidence for a culturally determined role of gaze in the processing of fear. Greater neural responsivity was apparent to averted-versus direct-gaze fear in several regions related to face and emotion processing, including bilateral amygdalae, when posed on same-culture faces, whereas greater response to direct-versus averted-gaze fear was apparent in these same regions when posed on other-culture faces. We also found preliminary evidence for intercultural variation including differential responses across participants to Japanese versus US Caucasian stimuli, and to a lesser degree differences in how Japanese and US Caucasian participants responded to these stimuli. These findings reveal a meaningful role of culture in the processing of eye gaze and emotion, and highlight their interactive influences in neural processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernsp047
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Volume5
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 17 2009

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Fear
Emotions
Amygdala

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Cross-cultural psychology
  • Eye gaze
  • Face perception
  • Facial expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

Adams, R. B., Franklin, R. G., Rule, N. O., Freeman, J. B., Kveraga, K., Hadjikhani, N., ... Ambady, N. (2009). Culture, gaze and the neural processing of fear expressions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5(2-3), 340-348. [nsp047]. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsp047

Culture, gaze and the neural processing of fear expressions. / Adams, Reginald B.; Franklin, Robert G.; Rule, Nicholas O.; Freeman, Jonathan B.; Kveraga, Kestutis; Hadjikhani, Nouchine; Yoshikawa, Sakiko; Ambady, Nalini.

In: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 5, No. 2-3, nsp047, 17.12.2009, p. 340-348.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Adams, RB, Franklin, RG, Rule, NO, Freeman, JB, Kveraga, K, Hadjikhani, N, Yoshikawa, S & Ambady, N 2009, 'Culture, gaze and the neural processing of fear expressions', Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 5, no. 2-3, nsp047, pp. 340-348. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsp047
Adams RB, Franklin RG, Rule NO, Freeman JB, Kveraga K, Hadjikhani N et al. Culture, gaze and the neural processing of fear expressions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2009 Dec 17;5(2-3):340-348. nsp047. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsp047
Adams, Reginald B. ; Franklin, Robert G. ; Rule, Nicholas O. ; Freeman, Jonathan B. ; Kveraga, Kestutis ; Hadjikhani, Nouchine ; Yoshikawa, Sakiko ; Ambady, Nalini. / Culture, gaze and the neural processing of fear expressions. In: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2009 ; Vol. 5, No. 2-3. pp. 340-348.
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