Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An opinion in milliseconds

23.02.2016

Freiburg scientist has decoded brain processes associated with the subconscious evaluation of social groups

Humans assess each other within milliseconds, deciding whether someone is likeable or not. The Freiburg psychologist and neuroscientist Dr. Bastian Schiller and a team at the University of Basel in Switzerland are the first to have discovered the subconscious processes in the brain and the order in which they occur that determine how humans process social information such as likability or antipathy.


Tiny time frames: Researchers have analyzed microstates that occur in subjects’ brains when social information is being dealt with.

Source: Bastian Schiller/University of Freiburg

Their findings have been published in the latest issue of the U.S. science journal „Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences“ (PNAS).

The researchers employed the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in their study. The subjects reacted to positive and negative words and concepts that they associated with their own or a foreign group. Schiller and the Swiss research team of Prof. Dr. Daria Knoch and Dr. Lorena Gianotti administered the IAT in a group of soccer fans, for instance. While the subjects were responding to concepts such a „love“ or „death“, or the names of players on their own versus the opposing team, the researchers measured their brain waves on an electroencephalogram.

They aimed to investigate individual information processing steps and their duration during subconscious social assessments. To do this, they analyzed functional “microstates” in the brain. These are short phases – some lasting just a few milliseconds – during which a neuronal network is activated to carry a particular processing step. Researchers had already learned that reaction times in the IAT are longer when people associate foreign groups with positive characteristics.

What Schiller and the research team discovered in their analysis of the microstates is that the longer reaction times are not attributable to additional processing steps, but that some individual steps take longer. According to Schiller, „This study demonstrates the potential of modern electrical neuroimaging in helping to better understand the origin and time course of socially relevant processes in the human brain”.

A member of Prof. Dr. Markus Heinrichs’ working group at Albert-Ludwig University in Freiburg, Schiller is currently investigating the extent to which this discovery can facilitate the diagnostics and therapy of mental diseases involving social deficits.

The trinational neuroscientific research network NEUREX financially supports current research projects being conducted at the Institute of Psychology at Freiburg University. NEUREX is a participant in Eucor – The European Campus, a consortium of universities on the Upper Rhine valley in Freiburg, Basel, Mulhouse-Colmar, Strasbourg, and Karlsruhe.

Original publication:
Schiller, B.*, Gianotti, R. R. L.*, Baumgartner, T., Nash, K., Koenig, T. & Knoch, D. (2016). Clocking the social mind by identifying mental processes in the IAT with electrical neuroimaging. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). (* shared first authorship)

Further information:

www.psychologie.uni-freiburg.de/abteilungen/psychobio

Contact:
Dr. Bastian Schiller
Institute of Psychology
Laboratory for Biological and Personality Psychology
Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
Phone: 0761/203-97741
E-Mail: schiller@psychologie.uni-freiburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm/2016/pm.2016-02-23.23-en?set_language=en

Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

Further reports about: IAT PNAS human brain mental processes research network

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Start codons in DNA may be more numerous than previously thought

21.02.2017 | Life Sciences

An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever

21.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Warming ponds could accelerate climate change

21.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>