Neural correlates of stereotype application.
ABSTRACT Recent research has focused on the disparate mechanisms that support the human ability to "mentalize" about the thoughts and feelings of others. One such process may rely on precompiled, semantic beliefs about the characteristics common to members of a social group, that is, on stereotypes; for example, judging that a woman may be more likely than a man to have certain interests or opinions. In the current study, we identified a pattern of neural activity associated with the use of stereotypes to judge another person's psychological characteristics. During fMRI scanning, participants mentalized about the likely responses of a female and male target to a series of questions, some of which were related to gender stereotypes (e.g., "enjoys shopping for new clothes"). Trials on which participants applied a stereotype were segregated from those on which participants avoided stereotype use. The BOLD response in an extensive region of the right frontal cortex differentiated stereotype-applied from -unapplied trials. Moreover, this neural difference was correlated with a behavioral index of gender associations-the Implicit Association Test-administered after scanning. Results suggest that stereotype application may draw on cognitive processes that more generally subserve semantic knowledge about categories.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Adrianna C. Jenkins, Aug 26, 2014
SourceAvailable from: Arjen Stolk
Chapter: On the generation of shared symbols[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Despite the multiple semantic ambiguities present in every utterance during natural language use, people are remarkably efficient in establishing mutual understanding. This chapter illustrates how the study of human communication in novel settings provides a window into the mechanisms supporting the human competence to rapidly generate and understand novel shared symbols, capturing the joint construction of meaning across interacting agents. In this chapter, we discuss empirical findings and computational hypotheses generated in the context of an experimentally-controlled non-verbal interactive task that throw light on these fundamental properties of human referential communication. The neural evidence reviewed here points to mechanisms shared across interlocutors of a communicative interaction. Those neural mechanisms implement predictions based on presumed knowledge and beliefs of the communicative partner. Computationally, the generation of novel meaningful symbolic representations might rely on cross-domain analogical mappings. Those mappings provide a mechanism for systematically augmenting individual pre-existing representations, adjusting them to the current conversational context.Cognitive Neuroscience of Natural Language Use, Edited by Roel Willems, 04/2015: chapter 10: pages 201-227; Cambridge University Press.
Article: Mahzarin Rustum Banaji
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ABSTRACT: Does the processing of social category-related versus trait-related information generate a different pattern of brain activation? In this fMRI study, we compared the processing of behaviors performed by a member of a social category versus an individual, both possessing similar personality traits. Based on previous behavioral studies we predicted that the processing of social category-related information would recruit more activation in brain areas related to mentalizing than individual trait-related information. Participants read sentences describing behaviors performed by a member of a social category (of which the stereotype involves a given trait) or by an individual possessing the same trait. These behavioral sentences varied on both valence (positive versus negative) and consistency (consistent versus inconsistent) with regard to the social category or trait. The results revealed that social category-related behavioral information showed more activation in mentalizing areas (medial prefrontal cortex, anterior temporal lobe, bilateral temporo-parietal junction, posterior cingulate cortex) than trait-related information. This increased activation is interpreted in terms of the impact of autobiographical memories, greater variance among members of social categories than individual traits, a higher construal level (i.e., abstractness), and larger perceived group size. Additionally, inconsistent as opposed to consistent information showed more activation in the right temporo-parietal junction and left lingual gyrus.NeuroImage 09/2014; 104. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.09.022 · 6.13 Impact Factor