Neural pattern similarity reveals the inherent intersection of social categories

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Jun;19(6):795-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.4296. Epub 2016 May 2.


We provide evidence that neural representations of ostensibly unrelated social categories become bound together by their overlapping stereotype associations. While viewing faces, multi-voxel representations of gender, race, and emotion categories in the fusiform and orbitofrontal cortices were stereotypically biased and correlated with subjective perceptions. The findings suggest that social-conceptual knowledge can systematically alter the representational structure of social categories at multiple levels of cortical processing, reflecting bias in visual perceptions.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping*
  • Face / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Reaction Time
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*