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Neuroimage. 2010 Oct 1;52(4):1704-11. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.05.057. Epub 2010 May 25.

Attitudes towards the outgroup are predicted by activity in the precuneus in Arabs and Israelis.

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  • 1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


The modern socio-political climate is defined by conflict between ethnic, religious and political groups: Bosnians and Serbs, Tamils and Singhalese, Irish Catholics and Protestants, Israelis and Arabs. One impediment to the resolution of these conflicts is the psychological bias that members of each group harbor towards each other. These biases, and their neural bases, are likely different from the commonly studied biases towards racial outgroups. We presented Arab, Israeli and control individuals with statements about the Middle East from the perspective of the ingroup or the outgroup. Subjects rated how 'reasonable' each statement was, during fMRI imaging. Increased activation in the precuneus (PC) while reading pro-outgroup vs. pro-ingroup statements correlated strongly with both explicit and implicit measures of negative attitudes towards the outgroup; other brain regions that were involved in reasoning about emotionally-laden information did not show this pattern.

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