Age and culture modulate object processing and object-scene binding in the ventral visual area

Joshua O. Goh, Michael W. Chee, Chow Tan Jiat, Vinod Venkatraman, Andrew Hebrank, Eric D. Leshikar, Lucas Jenkins, Bradley P. Sutton, Angela H. Gutchess, Denise C. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral differences in the visual processing of objects and backgrounds as a function of cultural group are well documented. Recent neuroimaging evidence also points to cultural differences in neural activation patterns. Compared with East Asians, Westerners' visual processing is more object focused, and they activate neural structures that reflect this bias for objects. In a recent adaptation study, East Asian older adults showed an absence of an object-processing area but normal adaptation for background areas. In the present study, 75 young and old adults (half East Asian and half Western) were tested in an fMR-adaptation study to examine differences in object and background processing as well as object-background binding. We found equivalent background processing in the parahippocampal gyrus in all four groups, diminished binding processes in the hippocampus in elderly East Asians and Westerners, and diminished object processing in elderly versus young adults in the lateral occipital complex. Moreover, elderly East Asians showed significantly less adaptation response in the object areas than did elderly Westerners. These findings demonstrate the malleability of perceptual processes as a result of differences in cohort-specific experiences or in cultural exposure over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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