The neuroscientific study of prejudice

Jason Gallate*, Cara Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Prejudice research in social neuroscience has largely relied upon imaging technologies which show that particular 'target' brain areas are activated after presenting prejudice-provoking stimuli. The social neuroscience approach to stereotype formation and prejudice has typically focused on the amygdala and frontal lobe as key areas. fMRI studies have shown that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is implicated in the detection of implicit attitudes and the anterior cingulate cortex is associated with their regulation. However, there has been little investigation into the anterior temporal lobes (ATL) despite their involvement in semantic association and social processing. In a recent series of experiments we investigated the role of the ATLs in prejudice by utilising a non-invasive form of brain stimulation - repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). rTMS has an advantage over imaging techniques because it allows tentative causal inferences to be drawn about a 'target' brain area as it is either stimulated or inhibited and its effect on the behavior in question is observed. The current series of studies show that the ATLs are involved in prejudice and investigate whether this effect is specific to stereotypes or if the effect is generalizable to all categories of concept formation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe psychology of prejudice
Subtitle of host publicationinterdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary issues
EditorsDale W. Russell, Cristel Antonia Russell
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781620816219
ISBN (Print)9781620816066
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePsychology Research Progress
PublisherNova Science Publishers


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