Article

Dissociable effects of prefrontal and anterior temporal cortical lesions on stereotypical gender attitudes

Cognitive Neuroscience Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1440, USA.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.3). 09/2009; 47(10):2125-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.04.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Clinical observations of patients with ventral frontal and anterior temporal cortical lesions reveal marked abnormalities in social attitudes. A previous study in seven patients with ventral prefrontal lesions provided the first direct experimental evidence for abnormalities in social attitudes using a well-established measure of gender stereotypes, the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Here, we were able to test whether these first findings could be reproduced in a larger sample of 154 patients with penetrating head injuries, and to determine the differential effects of ventromedial prefrontal (vmPFC) and ventrolateral prefrontal (vlPFC) cortical lesions on IAT performance. In addition, we investigated the role of the superior anterior temporal lobe (aTL), recently shown to represent conceptual social knowledge. First, we used a linear regression model to identify the role of each of the three regions, while controlling for the extent of damage to other regions. We found that larger lesions in either the vmPFC or the superior aTL were associated with increased stereotypical attitudes, whereas larger lesions in the vlPFC were associated with decreased stereotypical attitudes. Second, in a confirmatory analysis, we grouped patients by lesion location and compared their performance on the IAT with that of healthy volunteers. Compared to controls, patients with lesions in either the vmPFC or the superior aTL showed increased stereotypical attitudes, whereas patients with lesions in the vlPFC showed decreased stereotypical attitudes. The functional contributions of these regions in social attitudes are discussed.

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    • "While research showed that at the micro-level, single-cell activities are responsive to the formation of association memory, which constitutes the basic representation of stereotype (Naya & Suzuki, 2010), at the macro-level, research also revealed that stereotype, as a kind of special semantic knowledge, has special neural substrates (Contreras, Banaji, & Mitchell, 2012). Specifically, the implicit gender stereotype was found to be associated with brain activities in areas such as the ventromedial prefrontal and ventrolateral prefrontal cortexes (Gozzi, Raymont, Solomon, Koenigs, & Grafman, 2009;Milne & Grafman, 2001). More relevantly, a study provides direct evidence that genes may influence both explicit and implicit gender stereotypes (Forbes et al., 2012). "

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    • "We quantified the percentage of AAL structures impacted by the lesion from the overlap of the normalized lesion images with the AAL atlas. In addition, we defined regions of interest (ROIs) in the dlPFC and temporal cortex, including posterior superior and middle gyrus (TC) as previously described (Gozzi et al., 2009), by identifying AAL structures within specified ranges of MNI coordinates. "
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    • "Our current study aimed at testing these 2 alternative hypotheses. To date, neuropsychological studies with brain-damaged patients have looked separately at their stereotypes (Gozzi et al, 2009; Milne and Grafman, 2001) and their prejudice reactions (Ciaramelli et al, 2012; Phelps et al, 2003). Here we assessed both the representation and the evaluation of social groups within the same study, and we tested whether the stereotypes and prejudice reactions are commonly associated. "
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