The present study used EEG/ERPs to detect the activation of implicit stereotypical representations associated to other-race (OR) people and the modulation of such activation through the previous presentation of positive vs. neutral social information. Electrophysiological signals were recorded in 40 Italian Caucasian participants, unaware of the overall study’s purpose. They were presented with 285 sentences that could either violate, non-violate (e.g., “the Roma girl was involved in a robbery) or be neutral with regard to stereotypical concepts concerning other-race people (e.g. Asians, Africans, Arabic). ERPs were time-locked to the terminal words. Prior to the sentence reading task, participants were exposed to a 10 minutes colourful video documentary. While the experimental group was presented a video containing images picturing other-race characters involved in “prestigious” activities that violated stereotypical negative assumptions (e.g. a black neurosurgeon leading a surgery team), the control group viewed a neutral documentary about flora and fauna. EEG signals were then recorded during the sentence reading task to explore whether the previous exposure to the experimental video could modulate the detection of incongruence in the sentences violating stereotypes, as marked by the N400 response. A fictitious task was adopted, consisted in detecting rare animal names. Indeed, only the control group showed a greater N400 response (350–550 ms) to words incongruent with ethnic stereotypes compared to congruent and neutral ones, thus suggesting the presence of a racial bias. No N400 response was found for the experimental group, suggesting a lack of negative expectation for OR individuals. The swLORETA inverse solution, performed on the prejudice-related N400 showed that the Inferior Temporal and the Superior and Middle Frontal Gyri were the strongest N400 intra-cortical sources. Regardless of the experimental manipulation, Congruent terminal words evoked a greater P300 response (500–600 ms) compared to incongruent and neutral ones and a late frontal positivity (650–800 ms) was found to be larger to sentences involving OR than own-race characters (either congruent or incongruent with the prejudice) thus possibly indicating bias-free perceptual in-group/out-group categorization processes. The data showed how it is possible to modulate a pre-existing racial prejudice (as reflected by N400 effect) through exposure to positive media-driven information about OR people. Further follow-up studies should determine the duration in time, and across contexts, of this modulatory effect.

Brusa, A., Pesič, A., & Proverbio, A. (2021). Learning positive social information reduces racial bias as indexed by N400 response. PLOS ONE, 16(11) [10.1371/journal.pone.0260540].

Learning positive social information reduces racial bias as indexed by N400 response

Brusa, Alessandra
;
Proverbio, Alice Mado
2021

Abstract

The present study used EEG/ERPs to detect the activation of implicit stereotypical representations associated to other-race (OR) people and the modulation of such activation through the previous presentation of positive vs. neutral social information. Electrophysiological signals were recorded in 40 Italian Caucasian participants, unaware of the overall study’s purpose. They were presented with 285 sentences that could either violate, non-violate (e.g., “the Roma girl was involved in a robbery) or be neutral with regard to stereotypical concepts concerning other-race people (e.g. Asians, Africans, Arabic). ERPs were time-locked to the terminal words. Prior to the sentence reading task, participants were exposed to a 10 minutes colourful video documentary. While the experimental group was presented a video containing images picturing other-race characters involved in “prestigious” activities that violated stereotypical negative assumptions (e.g. a black neurosurgeon leading a surgery team), the control group viewed a neutral documentary about flora and fauna. EEG signals were then recorded during the sentence reading task to explore whether the previous exposure to the experimental video could modulate the detection of incongruence in the sentences violating stereotypes, as marked by the N400 response. A fictitious task was adopted, consisted in detecting rare animal names. Indeed, only the control group showed a greater N400 response (350–550 ms) to words incongruent with ethnic stereotypes compared to congruent and neutral ones, thus suggesting the presence of a racial bias. No N400 response was found for the experimental group, suggesting a lack of negative expectation for OR individuals. The swLORETA inverse solution, performed on the prejudice-related N400 showed that the Inferior Temporal and the Superior and Middle Frontal Gyri were the strongest N400 intra-cortical sources. Regardless of the experimental manipulation, Congruent terminal words evoked a greater P300 response (500–600 ms) compared to incongruent and neutral ones and a late frontal positivity (650–800 ms) was found to be larger to sentences involving OR than own-race characters (either congruent or incongruent with the prejudice) thus possibly indicating bias-free perceptual in-group/out-group categorization processes. The data showed how it is possible to modulate a pre-existing racial prejudice (as reflected by N400 effect) through exposure to positive media-driven information about OR people. Further follow-up studies should determine the duration in time, and across contexts, of this modulatory effect.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Scientifica
ERP, N400, Stereotype, Social cognition
English
Gold Open Access• Green Open Access
Brusa, A., Pesič, A., & Proverbio, A. (2021). Learning positive social information reduces racial bias as indexed by N400 response. PLOS ONE, 16(11) [10.1371/journal.pone.0260540].
Brusa, A; Pesič, A; Proverbio, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/337126
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