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The role of the medial prefrontal cortex in social categorization



The role of the medial prefrontal cortex in social categorization



Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 9(3): 292-296



Group membership is an important aspect of our everyday behavior. Recently, we showed that existing relevant in-group labels increased activation in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) compared with out-group labels, suggesting a role of the MPFC in social categorization. However, the question still remains whether this increase in MPFC activation for in-group representation is solely related with previous experience with the in-group. To test this, we randomly assigned participants to a red or blue team and in a subsequent functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment they categorized red and blue team words as belonging to either the in-group or the out-group. Results showed that even under these minimal conditions increased activation was found in the MPFC when participants indicated that they belonged to a group, as compared with when they did not. This effect was found to be associated with the level of group identification. These results confirm the role of MPFC in social categorization.

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Accession: 056488008

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23175678

DOI: 10.1093/scan/nss135


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