Seeing is believing: Neural mechanisms of action-perception are biased by team membership

Molenberghs, Pascal, Halasz, Veronika, Mattingley, Jason B., Vanman, Eric J. and Cunnington, Ross (2012) Seeing is believing: Neural mechanisms of action-perception are biased by team membership. Human Brain Mapping, 34 9: 2055-2068. doi:10.1002/hbm.22044

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Author Molenberghs, Pascal
Halasz, Veronika
Mattingley, Jason B.
Vanman, Eric J.
Cunnington, Ross
Title Seeing is believing: Neural mechanisms of action-perception are biased by team membership
Journal name Human Brain Mapping   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1065-9471
Publication date 2012-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/hbm.22044
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 34
Issue 9
Start page 2055
End page 2068
Total pages 14
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Language eng
Abstract Group identification can lead to a biased view of the world in favor of “in-group” members. Studying the brain processes that underlie such in-group biases is important for a wider understanding of the potential influence of social factors on basic perceptual processes. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how people perceive the actions of in-group and out-group members, and how their biased view in favor of own team members manifests itself in the brain. We divided participants into two teams and had them judge the relative speeds of hand actions performed by an in-group and an out-group member in a competitive situation. Participants judged hand actions performed by in-group members as being faster than those of out-group members, even when the two actions were performed at physically identical speeds. In an additional fMRI experiment, we showed that, contrary to common belief, such skewed impressions arise from a subtle bias in perception and associated brain activity rather than decision-making processes, and that this bias develops rapidly and involuntarily as a consequence of group affiliation. Our findings suggest that the neural mechanisms that underlie human perception are shaped by social context.
Keyword In group bias
Social neuroscience
Perception of action
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 511148
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 30 JAN 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2013 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 20 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 11 Jul 2012, 02:34:17 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute