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Title: The Neural Correlates Of Social Stereotyping
Author: Quadflieg, Susanne
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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Judging people on the basis of cultural stereotypes is a ubiquitous facet of daily life, yet little is known about how this fundamental inferential strategy is implemented in the brain.  In the current thesis, this important issue was addressed across a series of three functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments in the context of gender stereotyping.  In Experiment 1, participants read short descriptions of everyday and leisure activities (e.g., play poker) and decided whether these activities were preferentially done by men, women, or equally likely to be undertaken by both sexes.  In Experiment 2, participants judged whether a series of gender-stereotypic and non-stereotypic words (e.g., bubbly) could ever be descriptive of a preceding target person.  In Experiment 3, participants categorised target individuals who were displayed in gender-congruent or incongruent occupational roles according to sex (e.g. a male vs. a female sailor).  By analysing participants’ neural response during these tasks it was found that the neural substrates involved in stereotyping differed depending on what kind of stereotype content was probed (e.g., items of apparel, activities, traits).  It was also observed that the neural signature of stereotyping differentiated between target individuals depending on whether they were deemed less or more typical of their respective category.  Further analyses revealed that violations of stereotypic expectations impeded the efficiency of core person perception areas to form a coherent person percept.  These findings begin to elucidate how stereotyping fits within the neuroscience of person perception and understanding.  Whether interindividual differences in gender attitudes can modify the neural correlates of stereotyping, however, remains an issue of debate due to unequivocal findings in the current set of experiments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available