Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Oh the Stigma of It All

The 13th annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society was held from April 8-11 in San Francisco. Lots of interesting posters and presentations (and some that were not-so-interesting).

Where shall I begin?

In a less-than-thrilling development for stigmatized groups (pictured above), "disgust" ratings were obtained from Dartmouth students viewing photos of obese people, transgendered individuals, people with mutiple facial piercings (!!), "very ugly" people (not pictured), and "normal-looking" folks (not pictured). Obviously, these sheltered undergrads have never visited a large urban center or the Midwestern U.S.

What do we learn about stereotyping and stigmatization when investigators observe neural activations in regions that [possibly] reflect fear (amygdala) and loathing (insula)? The authors (Krendl et al.) suggest that the study participants were literally having a visceral response to the stigmatized faces.

OK, now we know1 the "neural correlates" of stigma, what shall we do with that information? What does it mean??

Krendl, Kelley, Macrae, & Heatherington (in press). Stigma on the Mind: An investigation of the neural correlates underlying stigma. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.

1well, not really.

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At April 16, 2006 6:29 PM, Blogger Dan Dright said...

1 well, not really.

Laughing My Amygdala Off

At April 19, 2006 8:07 AM, Blogger Sandra said...

What to do? Clearly, if lesions were created in the amygdala, using a barbell stud, subjects would become fat-positive.


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