Stereotype-based modulation of person perception

Susanne Quadflieg, Natasha Flannigan, Gordon D. Waiter, Bruno Rossion, Gagan S. Wig, David J. Turk, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


core social–psychological question is how cultural stereotypes shape our encounters with other people. While there is considerable evidence to suggest that unexpected targets—such as female airline pilots and male nurses—impact the inferential and memorial aspects of person construal, it has yet to be established if early perceptual operations are similarly sensitive to the stereotype-related status of individuals. To explore this issue, the current investigation measured neural activity while participants made social (i.e., sex categorization) and non-social (i.e., dot detection) judgments about men and women portrayed in expected and unexpected occupations. When participants categorized the stimuli according to sex, stereotype-inconsistent targets elicited increased activity in cortical areas associated with person perception and conflict resolution. Comparable effects did not emerge during a non-social judgment task. These findings begin to elucidate how and when stereotypic beliefs modulate the formation of person percepts in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Early online date7 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2011


  • Person categorization
  • Processing goal
  • Stereotyping
  • Top-down modulation


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