Interdependent self-construal predicts increased gray matter volume of scene processing regions in the brain

Qinggang Yu, Anthony P. King, Carolyn Yoon, Israel Liberzon, Stacey M. Schaefer, Richard J. Davidson, Shinobu Kitayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Interdependent self-construal (SC) is thought to lead to a more holistic cognitive style that emphasizes the processing of the background scene of a focal object. At present, little is known about whether the structural properties of the brain might underlie this functional relationship. Here, we examined the gray matter (GM) volume of three cortical regions involved in scene processing – a cornerstone of contextual processing. Study 1 tested 78 European American non-student adults and found that interdependent (vs. independent) SC predicts higher GM volume in the parahippocampal place area (PPA), one of the three target regions. Testing both European American and East Asian college students (total N = 126), Study 2 replicated this association. Moreover, the GM volume of all the three target regions was greater for East Asians than for European Americans. Our findings suggest that there is a structural neural underpinning for the cultural variation in cognitive style.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108050
JournalBiological Psychology
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Cultural difference
  • Parahippocampal place area
  • Scene processing
  • Self-construal
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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