An fMRI investigation of race-related amygdala activity in African-American and Caucasian-American individuals

Nat Neurosci. 2005 Jun;8(6):720-2. doi: 10.1038/nn1465. Epub 2005 May 8.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to examine the nature of amygdala sensitivity to race. Both African-American and Caucasian-American individuals showed greater amygdala activity to African-American targets than to Caucasian-American targets, suggesting that race-related amygdala activity may result from cultural learning rather than from the novelty of other races. Additionally, verbal encoding of African-American targets produced significantly less amygdala activity than perceptual encoding of African-American targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Culture
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Face*
  • Fear / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Race Relations / psychology*
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology