Neural processing of race during imitation

Self-Similarity Versus Social Status

Elizabeth Losin, Katy A. Cross, Marco Iacoboni, Mirella Dapretto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

People preferentially imitate others who are similar to them or have high social status. Such imitative biases are thought to have evolved because they increase the efficiency of cultural acquisition. Here we focused on distinguishing between self-similarity and social status as two candidate mechanisms underlying neural responses to a person's race during imitation. We used fMRI to measure neural responses when 20 African American (AA) and 20 European American (EA) young adults imitated AA, EA and Chinese American (CA) models and also passively observed their gestures and faces. We found that both AA and EA participants exhibited more activity in lateral frontoparietal and visual regions when imitating AAs compared with EAs or CAs. These results suggest that racial self-similarity is not likely to modulate neural responses to race during imitation, in contrast with findings from previous neuroimaging studies of face perception and action observation. Furthermore, AA and EA participants associated AAs with lower social status than EAs or CAs, suggesting that the social status associated with different racial groups may instead modulate neural activity during imitation of individuals from those groups. Taken together, these findings suggest that neural responses to race during imitation are driven by socially learned associations rather than self-similarity. This may reflect the adaptive role of imitation in social learning, where learning from higher status models can be more beneficial. This study provides neural evidence consistent with evolutionary theories of cultural acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1723-1739
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

African Americans
Gestures
Asian Americans
Neuroimaging
Young Adult
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Observation
Learning
Efficiency

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Ethnicity
  • FMRI
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anatomy
  • Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Neural processing of race during imitation : Self-Similarity Versus Social Status. / Losin, Elizabeth; Cross, Katy A.; Iacoboni, Marco; Dapretto, Mirella.

In: Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 35, No. 4, 2014, p. 1723-1739.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Losin, Elizabeth ; Cross, Katy A. ; Iacoboni, Marco ; Dapretto, Mirella. / Neural processing of race during imitation : Self-Similarity Versus Social Status. In: Human Brain Mapping. 2014 ; Vol. 35, No. 4. pp. 1723-1739.
@article{21b58379a8064dada9200ae4b9924046,
title = "Neural processing of race during imitation: Self-Similarity Versus Social Status",
abstract = "People preferentially imitate others who are similar to them or have high social status. Such imitative biases are thought to have evolved because they increase the efficiency of cultural acquisition. Here we focused on distinguishing between self-similarity and social status as two candidate mechanisms underlying neural responses to a person's race during imitation. We used fMRI to measure neural responses when 20 African American (AA) and 20 European American (EA) young adults imitated AA, EA and Chinese American (CA) models and also passively observed their gestures and faces. We found that both AA and EA participants exhibited more activity in lateral frontoparietal and visual regions when imitating AAs compared with EAs or CAs. These results suggest that racial self-similarity is not likely to modulate neural responses to race during imitation, in contrast with findings from previous neuroimaging studies of face perception and action observation. Furthermore, AA and EA participants associated AAs with lower social status than EAs or CAs, suggesting that the social status associated with different racial groups may instead modulate neural activity during imitation of individuals from those groups. Taken together, these findings suggest that neural responses to race during imitation are driven by socially learned associations rather than self-similarity. This may reflect the adaptive role of imitation in social learning, where learning from higher status models can be more beneficial. This study provides neural evidence consistent with evolutionary theories of cultural acquisition.",
keywords = "Culture, Ethnicity, FMRI, Prefrontal cortex, Socioeconomic status, Visual cortex",
author = "Elizabeth Losin and Cross, {Katy A.} and Marco Iacoboni and Mirella Dapretto",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1002/hbm.22287",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "35",
pages = "1723--1739",
journal = "Human Brain Mapping",
issn = "1065-9471",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Neural processing of race during imitation

T2 - Self-Similarity Versus Social Status

AU - Losin, Elizabeth

AU - Cross, Katy A.

AU - Iacoboni, Marco

AU - Dapretto, Mirella

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - People preferentially imitate others who are similar to them or have high social status. Such imitative biases are thought to have evolved because they increase the efficiency of cultural acquisition. Here we focused on distinguishing between self-similarity and social status as two candidate mechanisms underlying neural responses to a person's race during imitation. We used fMRI to measure neural responses when 20 African American (AA) and 20 European American (EA) young adults imitated AA, EA and Chinese American (CA) models and also passively observed their gestures and faces. We found that both AA and EA participants exhibited more activity in lateral frontoparietal and visual regions when imitating AAs compared with EAs or CAs. These results suggest that racial self-similarity is not likely to modulate neural responses to race during imitation, in contrast with findings from previous neuroimaging studies of face perception and action observation. Furthermore, AA and EA participants associated AAs with lower social status than EAs or CAs, suggesting that the social status associated with different racial groups may instead modulate neural activity during imitation of individuals from those groups. Taken together, these findings suggest that neural responses to race during imitation are driven by socially learned associations rather than self-similarity. This may reflect the adaptive role of imitation in social learning, where learning from higher status models can be more beneficial. This study provides neural evidence consistent with evolutionary theories of cultural acquisition.

AB - People preferentially imitate others who are similar to them or have high social status. Such imitative biases are thought to have evolved because they increase the efficiency of cultural acquisition. Here we focused on distinguishing between self-similarity and social status as two candidate mechanisms underlying neural responses to a person's race during imitation. We used fMRI to measure neural responses when 20 African American (AA) and 20 European American (EA) young adults imitated AA, EA and Chinese American (CA) models and also passively observed their gestures and faces. We found that both AA and EA participants exhibited more activity in lateral frontoparietal and visual regions when imitating AAs compared with EAs or CAs. These results suggest that racial self-similarity is not likely to modulate neural responses to race during imitation, in contrast with findings from previous neuroimaging studies of face perception and action observation. Furthermore, AA and EA participants associated AAs with lower social status than EAs or CAs, suggesting that the social status associated with different racial groups may instead modulate neural activity during imitation of individuals from those groups. Taken together, these findings suggest that neural responses to race during imitation are driven by socially learned associations rather than self-similarity. This may reflect the adaptive role of imitation in social learning, where learning from higher status models can be more beneficial. This study provides neural evidence consistent with evolutionary theories of cultural acquisition.

KW - Culture

KW - Ethnicity

KW - FMRI

KW - Prefrontal cortex

KW - Socioeconomic status

KW - Visual cortex

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84896400227&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84896400227&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/hbm.22287

DO - 10.1002/hbm.22287

M3 - Article

VL - 35

SP - 1723

EP - 1739

JO - Human Brain Mapping

JF - Human Brain Mapping

SN - 1065-9471

IS - 4

ER -