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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Collectivism and the Psychophysiology of Self-Regulation in Adolescents

  • Author(s): Rapp, Amy Meryl
  • Advisor(s): Chavira, Denise A
  • Miller, Gregory A
  • et al.

Collectivism, a cultural value which emphasizes interpersonal relationships and group cohesion, is endorsed to a greater degree among Latinx and Asian individuals than non-Latinx White (NLW) individuals and is thought to increase the salience of social context. The relationship between collectivism and social context may account for higher levels of social anxiety reported by Latinx and Asian adolescents. In line with this premise, errors or negative feedback that take place in a social context may be viewed by those with a collectivistic worldview to have greater consequences than to those with an individualistic perspective. Exaggerated error monitoring and response to negative feedback already have been implicated in models of social anxiety. The goal of this study is to determine the extent to which adolescents’ endorsement of collectivism interact with neural manifestations of error-monitoring (i.e., error-related negativity (ERN)) and feedback response (i.e., feedback-related negativity (FRN)) occurring in a social context, and the magnitude of the association of these event-related brain components with dimensional ratings of social anxiety. A community sample of Latinx, NLW, and Asian adolescents (n=102) was recruited for this study. Participants completed three complementary computerized speeded-response and feedback response tasks designed to elicit the ERN and FRN, as well as a battery of self-report questionnaires assessing demographic, cultural, and psychopathology constructs. Results from regression models supported the hypothesis that collectivism increases the salience of social context for adolescents, which is reflected in enhanced neural response to errors. Further, both ERN and FRN were found to be related to a dimensional measure of social anxiety. These relationships appear to be contingent on certain factors, namely, how social context is represented and the valence of social feedback. This project also found racial/ethnic group to be a moderator of identified associations. Although findings from this study are limited by methodological and conceptual issues, results could be used to inform future translation efforts of psychophysiological insights into treatment innovations.

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