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J Neurosci. 2001 Jun 15;21(12):RC150.

Ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions in humans eliminate implicit gender stereotyping.

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  • 1Cognitive Neuroscience Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1440, USA.


Patients with prefrontal cortex lesions and controls were administered an implicit association task (IAT) that measured the degree of association between male and female names and their stereotypical attributes of strength and weakness. They also completed three questionnaires measuring their explicit judgment regarding gender-related stereotypical attributes. There were no between-group differences on the explicit measures. On the IAT, patients with dorsolateral lesions and controls showed a strong association, whereas patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions had a significantly lower association, between the stereotypical attributes of men and women and their concepts of gender. This finding provides support for the hypothesis that patients with ventromedial prefrontal lesions have a deficit in automatically accessing certain aspects of overlearned associated social knowledge.

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