Attentional saliency and ingroup biases: From society to the brain

Zahra Moradi*, Abdolrahman Najlerahim, C Neil Macrae, Glyn W Humphreys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is ample evidence demonstrating intergroup biases on cognition and emotion. However, it remains unclear how exactly group identification influences these processes, with issues of context sensitivity and goal dependence remaining open to scrutiny. Providing a range of interdisciplinary material, the current review attempts to inform understanding of these issues. Specifically, we provide evidence revealing that individuals show enhanced attention for stimuli associated with an ingroup compared to an outgroup. At the attentional level, such biases can be explained by the assignment of different levels of saliency to ingroup versus outgroup targets. Critically, however, salience assignment is not fixed but varies as a function of context and goal-directed behavior. We suggest that the network in the brain previously associated with social and emotional saliency and attention - notably the anterior insula, posterior superior temporal sulcus, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex - underpins these effects. Moreover, although attention typically favors ingroup targets, outgroup members can be prioritized on occasion. The implications of this viewpoint and future lines of investigation are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Volume15
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • in-group bias
  • emotion
  • Attentional salience
  • Cognition
  • In-group biases
  • cognition
  • attentional Saliency
  • NEUROSCIENCE
  • MECHANISMS
  • SOCIAL COGNITION
  • ATTITUDES
  • PREJUDICE
  • RESPONSES
  • INTERGROUP THREAT
  • RACE
  • JUDGMENTS
  • SHOOTER BIAS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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