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Psychol Sci. 2004 Dec;15(12):806-13.

Separable neural components in the processing of black and white faces.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Yale University, USA. cunningham@psych.toronto.ca

Abstract

In a study of the neural components of automatic and controlled social evaluation, White participants viewed Black and White faces during event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. When the faces were presented for 30 ms, activation in the amygdala-a brain region associated with emotion-was greater for Black than for White faces. When the faces were presented for 525 ms, this difference was significantly reduced, and regions of frontal cortex associated with control and regulation showed greater activation for Black than White faces. Furthermore, greater race bias on an indirect behavioral measure was correlated with greater difference in amygdala activation between Black and White faces, and frontal activity predicted a reduction in Black-White differences in amygdala activity from the 30-ms to the 525-ms condition. These results provide evidence for neural distinctions between automatic and more controlled processing of social groups, and suggest that controlled processes may modulate automatic evaluation.

PMID:
15563325
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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