The effects of cultural exposure on neural activation have also been found in the areas of emotion recognition and inferences of intentions. Neural responses to emotional expressions in Japanese and Caucasian faces by native Japanese participants in Japan and Caucasian participants in the United States were examined by Chiao et al. (2008). Distinct neural responses were found in response to ingroup members, with individuals from both cultures showing greater amygdala activation to faces expressing fear of members of their own cultural groups. Moreover, Moriguchi et al. (2005) also found activation to Japanese fear expressions in emotion-related areas of the brain in Caucasians who had lived in Japan for more than a year. These two studies suggest that exposure to a culture can affect neural responses to emotional expressions. In another study, the ability to infer intentions was evaluated from a “reading the mind in the eyes” task used in studies examining the ability to infer intentions and feelings from pictures of the eyes. This task agrees with traditional tests of theory of mind and has been demonstrated to reliably differentiate between nonclinical samples and populations exhibiting psychopathologic disorders marked by impaired theory of mind (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste, & Plumb, 2001). Japanese participants showed more activation in the superior temporal sulcus (STS), an area found to be activated in previous neuroimaging studies examining inferences of intentions, when they were judging the intentions of Japanese as compared to American targets from pictures of their eyes. Americans participants showed the opposite pattern, with more STS activation when judging intentions from Caucasian as compared to Japanese eyes (Adams et al., 2009). Thus, there seem to be selective neural responses to cultural ingroup faces, probably due to more exposure to these faces.here is the link to the full text: http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/18/6/342.full
I often quote Schumann saying something to the effect that psychological behaviors we see and categorize may or may not have neurological representations, and therefore we should be cautious about concluding the absolute veracity of our psychological interpretations, while I simultaneously go about making psychological interpretations :).
it is nice to find this article that seems to support my psychological conclusions on a neurological level! will reference this one (and since I have all the authors' references with links, I hope to read and reference others) in the paper.