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Minimal group membership biases early neural processing of emotional expressions

Abstract : Mere affiliation with a social group alters people's perception of other individuals. One suggested mechanism behind such influence is that group membership triggers divergent visual facial representations for in-group and out-group members, which could constrain face processing. Here, using electroencephalography (EEG) under functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI) during a group categorization task, we investigated the impact of mere affiliation to an arbitrary group on the processing of emotional faces. The results indicate that in- and out-group members trigger differential event-related potential activity, appearing 150 ms after presentation of group membership information, which correlated with medial prefrontal fMRI activity. Additionally, EEG activity in the earliest stages of face processing (30-100 ms after expression onset) dissociated unexpected group-related emotions (in-group anger and out-group joy) from expected ones and correlated with temporo-parietal junction fMRI activity. We discuss the possibility that such dissociation may result from top-down influences from divergent representations for in-group and out-group members. Taken together, the present results suggest that mere membership in an arbitrary group polarized expectations which constrain the first steps of face processing.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-02461679
Contributor : Julie Grezes <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 6:18:12 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:48:10 AM

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Lucile Gamond, Emma Vilarem, Lou Safra, Laurence Conty, Julie Grèzes. Minimal group membership biases early neural processing of emotional expressions. European Journal of Neuroscience, Wiley, 2017, 46 (10), pp.2584-2595. ⟨10.1111/ejn.13735⟩. ⟨inserm-02461679⟩

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