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Culture but not gender modulates amygdala activation during explicit emotion recognition.

Derntl B, Habel U, Robinson S, Windischberger C, Kryspin-Exner I, Gur RC, Moser E - BMC Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: Mounting evidence indicates that humans have significant difficulties in understanding emotional expressions from individuals of different ethnic backgrounds, leading to reduced recognition accuracy and stronger amygdala activation.Moreover, no significant gender difference emerged.Taken together, while gender exerts only a subtle effect, culture and duration of stay as well as gender of poser are shown to be relevant factors for emotion processing, influencing not only behavioral but also neural responses in female and male immigrants.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: MR Centre of Excellence, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT

Background: Mounting evidence indicates that humans have significant difficulties in understanding emotional expressions from individuals of different ethnic backgrounds, leading to reduced recognition accuracy and stronger amygdala activation. However, the impact of gender on the behavioral and neural reactions during the initial phase of cultural assimilation has not been addressed. Therefore, we investigated 24 Asians students (12 females) and 24 age-matched European students (12 females) during an explicit emotion recognition task, using Caucasian facial expressions only, on a high-field MRI scanner.

Results: Analysis of functional data revealed bilateral amygdala activation to emotional expressions in Asian and European subjects. However, in the Asian sample, a stronger response of the amygdala emerged and was paralleled by reduced recognition accuracy, particularly for angry male faces. Moreover, no significant gender difference emerged. We also observed a significant inverse correlation between duration of stay and amygdala activation.

Conclusion: In this study we investigated the "alien-effect" as an initial problem during cultural assimilation and examined this effect on a behavioral and neural level. This study has revealed bilateral amygdala activation to emotional expressions in Asian and European females and males. In the Asian sample, a stronger response of the amygdala bilaterally was observed and this was paralleled by reduced performance, especially for anger and disgust depicted by male expressions. However, no gender difference occurred. Taken together, while gender exerts only a subtle effect, culture and duration of stay as well as gender of poser are shown to be relevant factors for emotion processing, influencing not only behavioral but also neural responses in female and male immigrants.

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Correlation analysis between mean parameter estimates of the amygdala region and duration of stay in Europe (months) showing a significant negative association (r(22) = −0.394, p = .031) indicating stronger amygdala response in those Asian participants with shorter duration of stay and thus probably reflecting adaptation effects on the neural level.
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Figure 4: Correlation analysis between mean parameter estimates of the amygdala region and duration of stay in Europe (months) showing a significant negative association (r(22) = −0.394, p = .031) indicating stronger amygdala response in those Asian participants with shorter duration of stay and thus probably reflecting adaptation effects on the neural level.

Mentions: Explorative analysis of impact of gender of poser on these correlations revealed a significant association between duration of stay and amygdala activation to male posers, r(22) = −0.343, p =.035, while no such correlation occurred for female posers, r(22) = −0.285, p = .188. Figure 4 illustrates the significant correlation between amygdala response and duration of stay in Asian females and males.


Culture but not gender modulates amygdala activation during explicit emotion recognition.

Derntl B, Habel U, Robinson S, Windischberger C, Kryspin-Exner I, Gur RC, Moser E - BMC Neurosci (2012)

Correlation analysis between mean parameter estimates of the amygdala region and duration of stay in Europe (months) showing a significant negative association (r(22) = −0.394, p = .031) indicating stronger amygdala response in those Asian participants with shorter duration of stay and thus probably reflecting adaptation effects on the neural level.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3404024&req=5

Figure 4: Correlation analysis between mean parameter estimates of the amygdala region and duration of stay in Europe (months) showing a significant negative association (r(22) = −0.394, p = .031) indicating stronger amygdala response in those Asian participants with shorter duration of stay and thus probably reflecting adaptation effects on the neural level.
Mentions: Explorative analysis of impact of gender of poser on these correlations revealed a significant association between duration of stay and amygdala activation to male posers, r(22) = −0.343, p =.035, while no such correlation occurred for female posers, r(22) = −0.285, p = .188. Figure 4 illustrates the significant correlation between amygdala response and duration of stay in Asian females and males.

Bottom Line: Mounting evidence indicates that humans have significant difficulties in understanding emotional expressions from individuals of different ethnic backgrounds, leading to reduced recognition accuracy and stronger amygdala activation.Moreover, no significant gender difference emerged.Taken together, while gender exerts only a subtle effect, culture and duration of stay as well as gender of poser are shown to be relevant factors for emotion processing, influencing not only behavioral but also neural responses in female and male immigrants.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: MR Centre of Excellence, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT

Background: Mounting evidence indicates that humans have significant difficulties in understanding emotional expressions from individuals of different ethnic backgrounds, leading to reduced recognition accuracy and stronger amygdala activation. However, the impact of gender on the behavioral and neural reactions during the initial phase of cultural assimilation has not been addressed. Therefore, we investigated 24 Asians students (12 females) and 24 age-matched European students (12 females) during an explicit emotion recognition task, using Caucasian facial expressions only, on a high-field MRI scanner.

Results: Analysis of functional data revealed bilateral amygdala activation to emotional expressions in Asian and European subjects. However, in the Asian sample, a stronger response of the amygdala emerged and was paralleled by reduced recognition accuracy, particularly for angry male faces. Moreover, no significant gender difference emerged. We also observed a significant inverse correlation between duration of stay and amygdala activation.

Conclusion: In this study we investigated the "alien-effect" as an initial problem during cultural assimilation and examined this effect on a behavioral and neural level. This study has revealed bilateral amygdala activation to emotional expressions in Asian and European females and males. In the Asian sample, a stronger response of the amygdala bilaterally was observed and this was paralleled by reduced performance, especially for anger and disgust depicted by male expressions. However, no gender difference occurred. Taken together, while gender exerts only a subtle effect, culture and duration of stay as well as gender of poser are shown to be relevant factors for emotion processing, influencing not only behavioral but also neural responses in female and male immigrants.

Show MeSH