Social Neuroscience (Azim) - Social Neuroscience Iii


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  • In E.O Wilson’s controversial tome on the unity of all human knowledge, Consilience, he envisioned one continuous flow of explanation from our most basic black and white forms of knowledge, up to our most ‘complex’ and messy. The progression would follow a path like this one. In this consilience, however, he saw two areas that would be especially challenging and would be the last pieces of the puzzle to be filled. These were understanding how biology gives rise to ecosystem level phenomena, and how the biology of the brain gives rise to social behaviour. It is this latter area of mystery that is the target of social neuroscience (or social cognitive neuroscience, depending on who you ask).
  • The Y-axis of the graph can be understood as amygdala activation. The interaction is statistically significant, indicating a decrease amygdala habituation for the ingroup faces (shaded), but not for the outgroup faces.; in the second scan, outgroup faces registered significantly more activation than ingroup faces did.
    Since the amygdala has been shown to have many functions, conclusions about the meaning of these findings is unclear. Hart et al., however, compellingly suggest that amygdala activation here can be understood as a threat response elicited by unfamiliarity in human conspecifics. From this perspective, the ingroup faces more rapidly become familiar (perhaps because of an extensive record of own race interaction) and, as a consequence, less threatening.
  • Only black faces presented for 30msec reached significance for amygdala activation.
  • Richerson et al. (2003) showed that those with the largest activation in the DLPFC and ACC, showed the strongest IAT scores for anti-Black prejudice.
  • Social Neuroscience (Azim) - Social Neuroscience Iii

    1. 1. Social Neuroscience Iii psy400
    2. 2. Topics • What is social neuroscience? (15) • Neuroimaging and TMS: Tools of SN (35)
    3. 3. What is Social Neuroscience (SN)? Physics biology neuroscience Cognitive psychology Social psychology math sociologyeconomicsanthropology humanities ecosystems chemistry
    4. 4. What is Social Neuroscience (SN)? • SN: An interdisciplinary field that uses methodologies from both the neuro and social sciences to better understand the biological mechanism that underlie social processes and behaviour • Holds that this multi-level analysis can enlighten both social psychology and neuroscience
    5. 5. • SN is a new field, – Partly because the tools did not exist to appropriately study SN – Partly because social psychology is ‘messier’ than, say, cognitive. Therefore many neuroscientists ignored it, in order to simplify a dauntingly complex brain. What is Social Neuroscience (SN)?
    6. 6. EEG (Electroencephelagram) • How it works: Electrodes placed on the scalp record voltage differences between different parts of the brain • Pros: – High temporal resolution, – Measures neuronal activity directly (via electrical output), – Relatively easy to use. • Cons: – Limited to surface (cortical) activity – Limited spatial resolution/anatomical specificity
    7. 7. Pet (Positron emission tomography) • How it works: A scanning device reads the positron emissions that are released as a previously injected sugar decays. Thus, it can assess the blood flow, oxygen and glucose consumption in different parts of the brain. • Pros: – Unlike EEG, offers 3D resolution – Can measure several metabolic indicators – Tracers can reveal neurotransmitter receptors/transporters • Cons: – Requires radioactive injections – Radioactive half life means only short tasks can be measured – Blood flow, oxygen and glucose consumption are all indirect correlates of brain activity
    8. 8. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) • How it works: Uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce high quality images by manipulating the spin of hydrogen protons • Pros: – No radioactive tracers needed – High resolution imaging – Can register water content, inflammation and bleeding • Cons: – Can only register structure, and not function
    9. 9. fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) • How it works: Adapts MRI to register the magnetic properties of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin, allowing real-time blood flow to be imaged • Pros: – Can see activation in addition to high res brain structures – Scanners can be fitted to present stimuli – Higher spatial and temporal resolution than PET • Cons: – Cannot trace neurotransmission like PET – Blood flow is, again, only an indirect correlate of brain activity
    10. 10. TMs (transcranial magnetic stimulation) • How it works: Targeted magnetic pulses temporarily excite sugar-cube sized groups of neurons, allowing increases or decreases in neuronal excitability • Pros: – Can manipulate activation rather than just image it, allowing causality to be inferred – Temporary with no lasting damage • Cons: – Researchers still unclear on how it works, exactly 1cm3
    11. 11. Beyond “It happens in the brain!” • Only a deeply ingrained dualism makes people amazed when behaviours are tied to brain regions: “Wow, that happens in the brain?!”-ism. • But of course it does. SCN goes beyond this, requiring the neural correlates (or causes) of social behaviour do edify it, rather than merely locate it.
    12. 12. Other tools • Animal Models – From Aplysia to Rattus and Hominoidea • Neuro-endocrinology – The roles of, e.g. • Androgens and estrogens • Corticosteroids • Oxytocin and vasopressin • Clinical patients
    13. 13. Social Neuroscience Ii psy400
    14. 14. Topics • Key Studies in SN – Stereotyping (35) – Social Rejection (15)
    15. 15. Some Social areas under sn study • Stereotyping • Social Rejection • Social Emotions • Attitudes and Attitude Change
    16. 16. stereotyping • What can social neuroscience tell us about stereotyping that we don’t already know? – How does stereotyping arise in the brain? – How automatic is it? – How difficult is it to prevent?
    17. 17. stereotyping • Hart et al. (2000). Differential response in the human amygdala to racial outgroup vs. ingroup face stimuli. Neuroreport, 11, 2351-2355 – Used fMRI to compare amygdalic activation when Black and White subjects were presented with unfamiliar Black and White faces. – In first block, amygdala activation found for both race congruent (ingroup) and race incongruent faces (outgroup – But in second block, activation had habituated for ingroup faces, but not for outgroup faces.
    18. 18. stereotyping • Hart et al. (2000). Differential response in the human amygdala to racial outgroup vs. ingroup face stimuli. Neuroreport, 11, 2351-2355
    19. 19. stereotyping • Phelps et al. (2000). Performance on indirect measures of race evaluation predicts amygdala activation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 12, 729-738. - Found positive correlation between amygdala activation and Implicit Associations Task scores of anti-Black prejudice, but not with self-report measures of anti-Black prejudice - Familiar and high regarded black faces, like Bill Cosby and Will Smith, however, showed no more IAT prejudice or amygdala activation than ingroup White faces.
    20. 20. • Discussion: – What are the implications of Hart et al, 2000? - Discussion question: How does Phelps et al. jive with Hart et al.? - Can unfamiliarity and threat be parsed as explanations? If so, how? stereotyping
    21. 21. stereotyping • Cunningham et al. (2004). Separable Neural Components in the Processing of Black and White Faces. Psychological Science, 15, 806-813. – Used fMRI to measure amygdala and prefrontal activation while presenting Black or White faces to White participants for either 30msec (subliminal) or 525msec (supraliminal) – For subliminally presented faces, found greater amygdala activation Black than White – For supraliminally presented faces, found greater PFC activation for Black than White
    22. 22. stereotyping • For 30msec, subliminal condition: Amygdala activation is associated with threat, vigilance, emotional arousal and ambiguity
    23. 23. stereotyping • For 525msec, supraliminal condition: The prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate are associated with inhibition, conflict and control.
    24. 24. • Discussion Questions: – What does Cunningham et al. suggest about the automaticity of racial prejudice? – Why do you think there was PFC and ACC activation for Black faces presented supraliminally? – What implications does the difference between the sub and supraliminal presentations have for research on racism? stereotyping
    25. 25. social rejection • Eisenberger and Lieberman (2004) Why rejection hurts: a common neural alarm system for physical and social pain. TICS, 8, 294–300 - Found an overlap between the neural regions activated during physical experiences of pain, as well as those involved is ‘social pain’ or rejection
    26. 26. social rejection • Eisenberger and Lieberman (2004) – Suggest that the ACC plays a key role in a “neural alarm system”
    27. 27. social rejection • Eisenberger et al. (2006) An experimental study of shared sensitivity to physical pain and social rejection. Pain, 126, 132-138 – Demonstrate that those with greater baseline sensitivity (trait) to pain also self-report more social distress in social rejection situations – Greater social distress is also associated with greater pain unpleasantness (state) administered experimentally
    28. 28. social rejection • Eisenberger and Lieberman (2004) and Eisenberger, et al. (2006) – Classic example of how social neuroscience studies can enlighten our understanding of both social psychology and neuroscience – It can also shed light on the evolutionary origins of neural and cognitive brain mechanisms. DISCUSSION: How?
    29. 29. Social Neuroscience Iii psy400
    30. 30. Topics • Key studies in SN II – Empathy (20) – Attitude change (15) • Central Questions and Future Directions – Towards an integrated understanding of how human behaviour happens (15)
    31. 31. empathy • Singer et al. (2004). Empathy for pain involves the affective but not sensory components of pain. Science, 303, 1157-1162 – Used fMRI to observe brain activation when pain was administered to a subject, or to the subject’s loved one, who was seated in the same room – Empathizing with an other’s pain activates the regions associated with the affective, but not sensorimotor areas of pain
    32. 32. empathy • Singer et al. (2004). Empathy for pain involves the affective but not sensory components of pain. Science, 303, 1157-1162 Green areas show activation in the ‘self’ condition Red areas show activation in the ‘other’ condition
    33. 33. empathy • Singer et al. (2006). Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature, 439, 466-9. – Male and female subjects watched confederates play an economic game where one confederate played fairly and the other played unfairly – Subsequently, brain activation was monitored in the watching subjects while the game confederates were exposed to pain
    34. 34. empathy • Singer et al. (2006). Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature, 439, 466-9. – Both sexes responded towards the fair players with the affective pain area activation associated with empathic pain – For the unfair player, however, males showed marked decreases in this empathic response and, instead showed increased activation in areas of the nucleus accumbens typically associated with reward – suggesting a punishment ‘thrill’
    35. 35. empathy • Singer et al. (2006). Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature, 439, 466-9. females males
    36. 36. Attitude change • Lieberman et al. (2001). Do amnesics exhibit cognitive dissonance reduction? The role of explicit memory and attention in attitude change. Psychological Science, 12, 135- 140. – Sought to see if attitude change always requires consciousness – Exposed anterograde amnesic patients to the free choice paradigm. The patients were given two pictures and told to choose the one they preferred. Over time, they grew to like the preferred picture more, and dislike the other picture more, in comparison with other pictures, despite not having conscious recollection over making the initial decision that prompted the attitude change.