Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Evol. Neurosci., 13 April 2009 | doi: 10.3389/neuro.18.001.2009

In-group and out-group membership mediates anterior cingulate activation to social exclusion

1
School of Biological Sciences, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
2
School of Liberal Arts, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA
Functional magnetic resonance imaging was employed to examine sensitivity to social exclusion in three conditions: same-race, other-race, and self-resembling faces. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), specifically the dorsal ACC, has been targeted as a key substrate in the physical and social pain matrix and was hypothesized to regulate activation response to various facial conditions. We show that participants demonstrated greatest ACC activation when being excluded by self-resembling and same-race faces, relative to other-race faces. Additionally, participants expressed greater distress and showed increased ACC activation as a result of exclusion in the same-race condition relative to the other-race condition. A positive correlation between implicit racial bias and activation in the amygdala was also evident. Implicit attitude about other-race faces partly explains levels of concern about exclusion by out-group individuals. These findings suggest that individuals are more distressed and their brain (i.e. neural alarm system) responds with greater activation when being excluded by individuals whom they are more likely to share group membership with.
Keywords:
social exclusion, fMRI, race, anterior cingulate cortex
Citation:
Krill A and Platek SM (2009). In group and out-group membership mediates anterior cingulate activation to social exclusion. Front. Evol. Neurosci. 1:1. doi: 10.3389/neuro.18.001.2009
Received:
21 November 2008;
 Paper pending published:
6 February 2009;
Accepted:
20 February 2009;
 Published online:
13 April 2009.

Edited by:

Robin Dunbar, Oxford University, UK

Reviewed by:

Todd Shackelford, Florida Atlantic University, USA
Tom Schoenemann, James Madison University, USA
Copyright:
© 2009 Krill and Platek. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence:
Austen Krill, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Liverpool, Crown St., Liverpool, L69 7ZB, UK. e-mail: alkrill@liv.ac.uk; Steven M. Platek, School of Liberal Arts, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA. e-mail: splatek@gmail.com
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