Does cultural worldviews and self-esteem buffer death concerns? A genetic moderation effect

[Speaker] Luo, Siyang:1
[Co-author] Han, Shihui:2
1:Sun Yat-sen University (China (People's Republic of China)), 2:Peking University (China (People's Republic of China))

Terror management theory proposed that cultural worldviews and self-esteem provides protection against concerns about mortality. It remains unknown whether a specific genetic polymorphism may influence the association between cultural traits, self-esteem and neural activity during death related process. To explore this question, we scanned Chinese adults with s/s or l/l variants of the 5-HTTLPR by using functional MRI during viewing death or non-death related negative words. We found the two genotype groups did not differ significantly in interdependence culture values and self-esteem, however, l/l group showed significantly negative association between interdependence culture values and activity in the ACC, bilateral putamen and bilateral thalamus, and negative association between self-esteem and activity in the vmPFC and PCC during processing death related words, whereas s/s showed opposite pattern. Our findings suggest that a specific genetic polymorphism may interact with cultural values and self-esteem to shape the neural substrates underlying concerns about mortality.
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