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Self-construals are different between Western and East Asian cultures in that the Western self emphasizes self-focused attention more, whereas the East Asian self stresses the fundamental social connections between people more. To investigate whether such cultural difference in self-related processing extends to face recognition, we recorded event-related potentials from British and Chinese subjects while they judged head orientations of their own face or a familiar face in visual displays. For the British, the own-face induced faster responses and a larger negative activity at 280-340 ms over the frontal-central area (N2) relative to the familiar face. In contrast, the Chinese showed weakened self-advantage in behavioral responses and reduced anterior N2 amplitude to the own-face compared with the familiar face. Our findings suggest that enhanced social salience of one's own face results in different neurocognitive processes of self-recognition in Western and Chinese cultures.

Original publication




Journal article


Soc Neurosci

Publication Date





402 - 411


Adolescent, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Brain Mapping, Cerebral Cortex, China, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Electroencephalography, England, Evoked Potentials, Visual, Face, Female, Humans, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Recognition (Psychology), Self Concept, Statistics as Topic, Time Factors, Young Adult