Distinct neural correlates of differences in perceived group entitativity

Laurens Van Der Cruyssen, Elien Heleven, Ceylan Ozdem, Frank Van Overwalle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


Previous studies on social groups demonstrated processing differences related to the perceived level of
group-entitativity. It was found that processing information from members of high entitative groups, as
compared to members of low entitative groups, will lead to the formation of an abstract prototypical
image of a group-member, which is subsequently transferred to the other group-members in an attempt to
achieve increased efficiency in processing daily social reality. In the current study we examine the brain activation
patterns associated with these differences in perceived levels of group entitativity. Twenty
native Dutch-speaking participants read blocks of behavioral descriptions belonging to four protagonists
who were part of either a high or a low entitative group. Prior to the presentation of each group, the type
of group and assumed entitativity level were provided. The participants received behavioral information
about 20 high entitative groups and 20 low entitative groups. The results revealed an adaptation effect for
trait-inference, that is, the activation decreased as more behavioral information was read about group
members. This effect was observed in the Anterior Cingulate, Middle Cingulate and Paracentral Lobule.
Adaptation in the bilateral frontal gyri was related to the difference in perceived level of group
entitativity, with adaptation being stronger for low as opposed to high entitative groups, suggesting that
more trait-related learning took place for low entitative groups. The impact on current theories about
group perception will be discussed during the presentation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTalk at the Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2013


  • social neuroscience
  • entitativity
  • fMRI


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