Exploring the neural correlates of social stereotyping.

School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, King College, Scottland, UK.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 4.49). 09/2008; 21(8):1560-70. DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21091
Source: DBLP

ABSTRACT Judging people on the basis of cultural stereotypes is a ubiquitous facet of daily life, yet little is known about how this fundamental inferential strategy is implemented in the brain. Using fMRI, we measured neural activity while participants made judgments about the likely actor (i.e., person-focus) and location (i.e., place-focus) of a series of activities, some of which were associated with prevailing gender stereotypes. Results revealed that stereotyping was underpinned by activity in areas associated with evaluative processing (e.g., ventral medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala) and the representation of action knowledge (e.g., supramarginal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus). In addition, activity accompanying stereotypic judgments was correlated with the strength of participants' explicit and implicit gender stereotypes. These findings elucidate how stereotyping fits within the neuroscience of person understanding.

1 Bookmark
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The medial pFC (mPFC) is frequently reported to play a central role in Theory of Mind (ToM). However, the contribution of this large cortical region in ToM is not well understood. Combining a novel behavioral task with fMRI, we sought to demonstrate functional divisions between dorsal and rostral mPFC. All conditions of the task required the representation of mental states (beliefs and desires). The level of demands on cognitive control (high vs. low) and the nature of the demands on reasoning (deductive vs. abductive) were varied orthogonally between conditions. Activation in dorsal mPFC was modulated by the need for control, whereas rostral mPFC was modulated by reasoning demands. These findings fit with previously suggested domain-general functions for different parts of mPFC and suggest that these functions are recruited selectively in the service of ToM.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 11/2013; · 4.49 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Perceivers extract multiple social dimensions from another's face (e.g., race, emotion), and these dimensions can become linked due to stereotypes (e.g., Black individuals→angry). The current research examined the neural basis of detecting and resolving conflicts between top-down stereotypes and bottom-up visual information in person perception. Participants viewed faces congruent and incongruent with stereotypes, via variations in race and emotion, while neural activity was measured using fMRI. Hand movements en route to race/emotion responses were recorded using mouse-tracking to behaviorally index individual differences in stereotypical associations during categorization. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) showed stronger activation to faces that violated stereotypical expectancies at the intersection of multiple social categories (i.e., race and emotion). These regions were highly sensitive to the degree of incongruency, exhibiting linearly increasing responses as race and emotion became stereotypically more incongruent. Further, connectivity analyses suggested the mPFC exerted a stronger directed influence on the ACC when viewing stereotypically incongruent (relative to congruent) targets. Finally, participants with stronger behavioral tendencies to link race and emotion stereotypically during categorization showed greater dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation to stereotypically incongruent targets. Together, the findings provide insight into how conflicting stereotypes at the nexus of multiple social dimensions are resolved at the neural level to accurately perceive other people.
    NeuroImage 08/2014; · 6.25 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract The potential of interprofessional education (IPE) to influence the perceptions and attitudes of health and social care professionals towards their colleagues in other disciplines is well recognized. However, empirical evidence for the positive impact of IPE on stereotypical beliefs has been limited. We report the findings of a pioneering, large scale study designed to assess the influence of IPE on these beliefs. A pre-test, post-test, quasi experimental design compared students' stereotypical views at the beginning and end of undergraduate studies. 580 students from 10 health and social care professional groups undertook assessed IPE modules over 3 years (the intervention group). Baseline and post-course stereotype ratings were compared with those of 672 students in a comparison group, not exposed to IPE modules. Baseline stereotype profiles showed clear variations in the way different professions were perceived, indicating stereotypical beliefs about the characteristics of each profession. Rating patterns were similar for intervention and comparison groups. At graduation, only minor changes were observed in the overall rating patterns for both groups. However, more ratings had decreased in the intervention group than the comparison group, suggesting that IPE may play a role in moderating more extreme stereotyping of colleagues in other professions.
    Journal of Interprofessional Care 07/2014; · 1.48 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 28, 2014