Document Detail

Modulation of the Fusiform Face Area following Minimal Exposure to Motivationally Relevant Faces: Evidence of In-group Enhancement (Not Out-group Disregard).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21452952     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Studies have shown that fusiform face area (FFA) activity increases with visual expertise. We present a fMRI study showing that faces from a social category made relevant by an experimental manipulation (members of an experimentally created in-group) preferentially recruited the FFA even when they were matched in exposure to face stimuli from a less significant social category (members of an experimentally created out-group). Faces were randomly assigned to groups and fully counterbalanced so that no perceptual cues allowed participants to visually distinguish category membership. The results revealed a pattern of in-group enhancement (not out-group disregard), such that the FFA was selectively engaged following the presentation of in-group compared with out-group or unaffiliated control faces even when the intergroup distinction was arbitrary, there were no visual cues to distinguish group membership, and exposure to in-group and out-group faces was equivalent and brief. In addition, relative differences in the FFA for in-group and out-group faces were correlated with recognition memory differences for in-group and out-group faces. The effects of group membership on the FFA were not affected by task instruction to respond to in-group or out-group members and were functionally dissociated from early visual processing in the primary visual cortex. This study provides evidence that the FFA is sensitive to top-down influences and may be involved in subordinate level (vs. superordinate level) encoding of stimuli in the absence of long-term exposure or explicit task instructions.
Jay J Van Bavel; Dominic J Packer; William A Cunningham
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-3-31
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of cognitive neuroscience     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1530-8898     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-4-1     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8910747     Medline TA:  J Cogn Neurosci     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
New York University.
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