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OS_33. Social cognition

Sunday, October 02nd,   2011 [15:40 - 16:40]


OS_33.1 - Influences of social hierarchy in a visual discrimination task. “I am a better competitor if you are a good competitor”

Santamaría García, H. , Panunzi, M. . , Deco, G. & Sebastián-Gallés, N.

Brain And Cognition Unit Universidad Pompeu Fabra Barcelona

Many studies have shown that the hierarchical status can influence the behavior and some cognitive process in humans. In a computerized game we constructed a social hierarchy. Based on skills in a visual discrimination task we evaluated if comparisons with the other participants can influence the performance during the task. Participants were always in the second place during the game and compared their results with two other simulated players, an upper and a lower. Globally, participants were better and faster when they made the task comparing their results with the results of the high status player. In addition they gradually improved their performance in this context. Secondly observing the time course of the event related potentials, we compared the register elicited when participants were playing the previous visual discrimination task with superior and inferior players. Two time windows were analyzed, reflecting differences in early perceptual process (< 300 ms) and the late /attentional decisional process (300 and 700 ms). Our results support a significant influence of social status on human behavior and the primary cognitive processes. A possible top down modulation of the social hierarchy can be produced even in the early stages of the decisional process.

OS_33.2 - Synchrony, bodily merging, and social relations

Schubert, T. 1 , Toscano, H. 1 , Seibt, B. 1 , Mazzurega, M. 2 , Paladino, M. 2 & Pavani, F. 2

1 CIS, ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, Portugal
2 University of Trento

Synchrony between sensations tags what gets integrated in the bodily representation. When the own body is stimulated in synchrony with perceived stimulation of another body part, representations of the other and the own body merge (rubberhand illusion). Experiencing such an inclusion of another person’s body in the own bodily representation leads to feelings of closeness and conformity with the other. We argue that this process underlies formation and change of social relations. Here, we show in two studies that the rubberhand illusion impacts attitudes towards the other’s group. Participants’ hands were brushed in synchrony or asynchrony with perceived brushing of either an ingroup or an outgroup member’s hand (different skin color or different age). Synchronous experiences led to the bodily illusion of felt ownership for the stranger’s hand and a sense of overlap to that person. Group membership had little impact on the illusion. After experiencing synchrony with an ingroup member and asynchrony with an outgroup member, participants identified more exclusively with their ingroup, and preferred their ingroup more over the outgroup (compared to experiencing synchrony with an outgroup member and asynchrony with an ingroup member). Overlap of bodily representations is one of the embodiments underlying social identification with groups.

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