Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and cerebellar contribution to in-group attitudes: a transcranial magnetic stimulation study

Lucile Gamond, Chiara Ferrari, Stefania La Rocca, Zaira Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We tend to express more positive judgments and behaviors toward individuals belonging to our own group compared to other (out-) groups. In this study, we assessed the role of the cerebellum and of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) - two regions critically implicated in social cognition processes - in mediating implicit valenced attitudes toward in-group and out-group individuals. To this aim, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in combination with a standard attitude priming task, in which Caucasian participants had to categorize the valence of a series of adjectives primed by either an in-group or an out-group face. In two behavioral experiments, we found an in-group bias (i.e. faster categorization of positive adjectives when preceded by in-group faces) but no evidence of an out-group bias. Interestingly, TMS over both the dmPFC and over the (right) cerebellum significantly interfered with the modulation exerted by group membership on adjective valence classification, abolishing the in-group bias observed at baseline. Overall, our data suggest that both the dmPFC and the cerebellum play a causal role in mediating implicit social attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)932-939
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Attitude
  • Cerebellum/physiology
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex/physiology
  • Social Behavior
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Young Adult

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