The dorsomedial prefrontal cortex plays a causal role in mediating in-group advantage in emotion recognition: A TMS study

L. Gamond, Zaira Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Consistent evidence suggests that emotional facial expressions are better recognized when the expresser and the perceiver belong to the same social group (in-group advantage). In this study, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate the possible causal involvement of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and of the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), two main nodes of the mentalizing neural network, in mediating the in-group advantage in emotion recognition. Participants performed an emotion discrimination task in a minimal (blue/green) group paradigm. We found that interfering with activity in the dmPFC significantly interfered with the effect of minimal group-membership on emotion recognition, reducing participants’ ability to discriminate emotions expressed by in-group members. In turn, rTPJ mainly affected emotion discrimination per se, irrespective of group membership. Overall, our results point to a causal role of the dmPFC in mediating the in-group advantage in emotion recognition, favoring intragroup communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-317
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Emotion recognition
  • In-group advantage
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Minimal group
  • Temporo-parietal junction
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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