Presentation on theme: "The Activation and Self-Regulation of Stereotypes in the Brain Anja Achtziger 1, Andreas Keil 2, Stephan Moratti 3, Alexander Jaudas 1 & Peter M. Gollwitzer."— Presentation transcript:
The Activation and Self-Regulation of Stereotypes in the Brain Anja Achtziger 1, Andreas Keil 2, Stephan Moratti 3, Alexander Jaudas 1 & Peter M. Gollwitzer 1,4 1 Universität Konstanz 2 NIMH Center for the Study of Attention and Emotion, University of Florida 3 Universidad Complutense de Madrid 4 New York University
The Activation and Self-Regulation of Stereotypes and Prejudice in the Brain Aims Investigating neural processes of automatic stereotype activation by means of a steady state paradigm (Study 1) Investigating neural processes of stereotype activation and control by means of ERPs (Study 2)
Study 1: Automaticity in Stereotyping – Steady State Evoked Visual Potentials
Background Social Cognition Research: facilitated processing of stereotype-congruent information stereotype-incongruent information draws more attention than stereotype-congruent information (Sherman et al., 1998) Neuroscience: steady state visual evoked potentials identified motivated attention in emotional picture processing (e.g., Keil et al., 2004; Moratti et al., 2004)
Aims Identifying the interaction of different brain areas (i.e., their effective connectivity) during the processing of stereotype- congruent and stereotype-incongruent information by analyzing ssVEPs (perception behavior link) Does stereotype-incongruent information draw more attention than stereotype-congruent information?
Steady State Visual Evoked Potentials definition: continuous brain response elicited by a repetitive visual stimulus that is periodically modulated in intensity at a fixed rate of 6-8 Hz or greater (Regan, 1989) advantage: investigating processes related to fluctuations in transient states of the central nervous system (e.g., attention or emotional arousal; Keil et al., 2004; Moratti et al., 2004) signals can be recorded at the scalp as an oscillatory waveform that has the same fundamental frequency as the driving stimulus amplitude and phase are easily extracted by means of frequency domain analyses high signal to noise ratio
SSVEP Paradigm time assumed stimulus-driven elektrocortical response Presentation of a visual stimulus with a modulation of 12.5 Hz: 40ms off 40ms on stimulus presentation
ssVEPs amplitudes will be greater when stereotype-incongruent information is to be processed compared to stereotype-congruent information at posterior electrodes Brain regions involved in encoding stereotype-congruent stimuli couple strongly to areas mediating the response (i.e. visual and motor areas; perception behavior link) Higher number of connections for stereotype-congruent stimuli compared to stereotype-incongruent stimuli Hypotheses
1. Reading a description of either a typical young or old man 2. EEG- Measurement: Presentation of anagrams of adjectives that were either congruent or incongruent with the stereotypes “old men” or “young men” (i.e., stereotypic adjectives), or were not associated with one of these social stereotypes at all (i.e., control adjectives) flickering in a 12 Hz rhythm Procedure
Independent variable, within: Anagrams: 6 pos./neg. adjectives describing old men (e.g., „sincere“, „lonely“) vs. 6 pos/neg. adjectives describing young men (e.g.,”smart “, “mean “) vs. 6 pos./neg. control targets („diligent“, „dark“) Independent variable, between: Priming: Old men vs. young men Dependent variables: Number of solutions and ssVEPs (800-3000 ms) Participants: 30 students of the University of Konstanz (women: 15; men: 15) Design and Participants
Summary and Discussion we observed higher amplitudes posterior for stereotype-incongruent information compared to stereotype-congruent information processing stereotype-incongruent information involves more widespread and less synchronized neural networks than processing stereotype-congruent information greater number of significant connections in congruent trials compared to incongruent trials (especially after the activation of the stereotype “old men”) flow of information in congruent trials: from posterior electrodes (visual regions) to more anterior regions (motor regions)
Study 2: Activating and Controlling Stereotypes – The Modulation of the N400
Study 2: Controlling Stereotypes – The Modulation of the N400 Background Social Cognition Research: Stereotype control by means of implementation intentions (see Achtziger & Gollwitzer, 2008) Neuroscience: Modulation of the N400 in semantic priming (Kutas & Hillyard, 1980; Pritchard et al., 1991) Aims Can the N400 be modulated by social stimuli? Does the N400 modulation reflect automatic stereotype activation? Can implementation intentions control this activation pattern?
Social Cognition Research Automatic priming procedures: RTs are faster if prime (e.g., white) and target (e.g., honest) are associated compared to not being associated (e.g., black and honest) (e.g., Devine, 1989) Fast RTs are an indicator of automatic stereotype activation Implementation intention research: implementation intentions are able to inhibit automatic processes (see Achtziger & Gollwitzer, 2008; Bayer, Achtziger, Gollwitzer, & Moskowitz, in press; Brandstätter et al., 2001)
Implementation Intention Theory (Gollwitzer, 1993, 1999) goal intention: desired end-state (“I want to attain x!”) “goal” in the usual sense realization requires cognitive resources (e.g., Haller, Achtziger, & Gollwitzer, 2006) implementation intention: simple plan, supporting the goal intention specifies a cue and a goal-directed behavior (“If I encounter cue X, I will do Y!”) realization is automatic (e.g., Brandstätter, Lengfelder, & Gollwitzer, 2001; Bayer et al., in press)
EEG-measurement (ERPs): N400 = Negativity of the cortical activity 400 ms after the presentation of targets (words!) N400 is stronger (more negative!) after a semantic mismatch between prime and target (e.g., doctor – moon) compared to a match (e.g., doctor – nurse) Presentation of words only (i.e., primes and targets are words) Neurolinguistic Research on Lexical Decision Tasks (LDT)
Design Lexical decision task (SOA =250 ms) Independent variables, within: Prime: Homeless Men vs. Managers Targets: 17 pos./neg. stereotypic targets („wise“, „shabby“) vs. 17 pos./neg. control targets („soft“, „pink“) vs. 17 Pseudowords („braed“) Independent variable, between: Intention: control vs. goal intention vs. implementation intention Dependent variables: Latencies and ERPs (N400) Participants: 60 male students of the University of Konstanz
Intention Manipulation Control condition: Impression formation goal only Goal intention: “I will not be prejudiced towards homeless men!” Implementation intention: In addition to the goal intention: “If I see a homeless man, then I will have no prejudice towards him!”
Hypotheses Control and goal intention condition: N400 will be stronger (more negative!) after a mismatch between prime and target (e.g., “manager” – “shabby”, “homeless person”- “braed”) than after a match (e.g., “homeless person” – “shabby”) automatic stereotype activation! Implementation intention condition: N400 will indicate no difference between “mismatch” and “match” trials stereotype control!
Study 2: Summary and Discussion Automatic stereotype activation was observed in the control and the goal intention condition, indicated by the modulation of the N400 Automatic stereotype activation even tended to be stronger in the goal intention condition than in the control condition The control of automatic stereotype activation was observed in the implementation intention condition
Thanks to… Data acquisition: Barbara Birk Benjamin Ernst Tobias Gronbach Christiane Wolf Mareile Zundel For funding: German Research Foundation Laboratory: Brigitte Rockstroh
Future Research self-regulation of stereotypes and prejudice ssVEPs ERPs