This application focuses on differences in basic cognitive processes that exist between members of Asian and Western cultures and on how these differences are magnified or moderated by the aging process. There is evidence that information processing may differ at fundamental levels as a function of culture. Data suggest that Asians process information more holistically, in a more context-bound, field-dependent manner, and that they use categorical information differently from Westerners. Although it might seem logical to assume that age will magnify these effects of culture on cognitive processes, due to increased exposure to the culture by the individual, the investigator hypothesizes that the effects of culture will not always increase with age. She believes that there are some classes of cognitive behaviors where cultural differences in cognitive function will decrease with age. There is compelling evidence that cognitive resources (as measured by speed of processing and on-line working memory capacity) decline with age--at least in Western cultures. The investigator believes that this decline is universal across cultures and that it is an important mechanism in understanding cultural differences in cognitive function. She proposes eight experiments to test our hypothesis and to characterize memory function in young and old Chinese and Americans. In Experiments 1-2, the mechanisms underlying efficient memory function --- speed of processing and working memory --- are examined. In Experiment 3, the mechanisms underlying cultural differences in memory --- field dependence, analytic processing, and categorization --- are studied. In Experiments 4-8 the investigator examines memory function, with an emphasis on understanding how different types of cues support memory in one culture but not another. It is hypothesized that visually-interacting cues facilitate Chinese more due to their bias towards holistic processing, but that categorical cues facilitate Americans more. The research is conducted under the auspices of the University of Michigan Collaborative Research Center at the Institute of Psychology in Beijing, China.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
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Elias, Jeffrey W
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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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United States
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Huang, Chih-Mao; Park, Denise (2013) Cultural influences on Facebook photographs. Int J Psychol 48:334-43
Goh, Joshua O S; Hebrank, Andrew C; Sutton, Bradley P et al. (2013) Culture-related differences in default network activity during visuo-spatial judgments. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 8:134-42
Huang, Chih-Mao; Polk, Thad A; Goh, Joshua O et al. (2012) Both left and right posterior parietal activations contribute to compensatory processes in normal aging. Neuropsychologia 50:55-66
Chee, Michael Wei Liang; Zheng, Hui; Goh, Joshua Oon Soo et al. (2011) Brain structure in young and old East Asians and Westerners: comparisons of structural volume and cortical thickness. J Cogn Neurosci 23:1065-79
Goh, Joshua O S; Leshikar, Eric D; Sutton, Bradley P et al. (2010) Culture differences in neural processing of faces and houses in the ventral visual cortex. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 5:227-35
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Leshikar, Eric D; Gutchess, Angela H; Hebrank, Andrew C et al. (2010) The impact of increased relational encoding demands on frontal and hippocampal function in older adults. Cortex 46:507-21
Park, Denise C; Huang, Chih-Mao (2010) Culture Wires the Brain: A Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective. Perspect Psychol Sci 5:391-400
Goh, Joshua O; Tan, Jiat Chow; Park, Denise C (2009) Culture modulates eye-movements to visual novelty. PLoS One 4:e8238
Sutton, Bradley P; Goh, Joshua; Hebrank, Andrew et al. (2008) Investigation and validation of intersite fMRI studies using the same imaging hardware. J Magn Reson Imaging 28:21-8

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