November 24, 2020

Enlarged Ingroup Effect: How a Shared Culture Shapes In-Group Perception

Increasing levels of migration and constant redefinition of a ‘sense of belonging’ characterize modern societies. Thus, social perception of people from different ethnicities as in-group or out-group members is influenced by a shared culture that might go beyond ethnicity.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we aim to study how sharing a common culture changes the social perceptions of in-groups and out-groups. We presented same- and different-race faces to young adults living in an integrated multicultural society.

Same- and different-race faces were primed by images of environmental context that promotes identification with the participants’ ethnicity or a common shared culture. We found that same and different-race faces recruit similar brain networks only when associated with an environmental context, which promoted identification with a common shared culture. These results support a possible emergent phenomenon in multicultural societies that we call enlarged multi-ethnic in-group effect, which may form the basis of a potential new way to categorize oneself and others in terms of membership.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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