Theta resting EEG in the right TPJ is associated with individual differences in implicit intergroup bias

Schiller, Bastian; Gianotti, Lorena R. R.; Baumgartner, Thomas; Knoch, Daria (2019). Theta resting EEG in the right TPJ is associated with individual differences in implicit intergroup bias. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 14(3), pp. 281-289. Oxford University Press 10.1093/scan/nsz007

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Why are some people more biased than others in their implicit evaluations during social interaction? The dispositional determinants of individual differences in implicit intergroup bias are poorly understood. Here, we explored whether such variability might be explained by stable neural traits. For that purpose, we used the source-localized resting electroencephalograms of 83 members of naturalistic social groups to explain their bias in an in−/outgroup implicit association test. Lower levels of resting theta current density in the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) were associated with stronger implicit intergroup bias and explained unique variability in bias beyond relevant personality questionnaires. These findings demonstrate the added-value of the neural trait approach in predicting inter-individual differences in implicit social cognition. Given that low levels of resting theta current density during wakefulness likely reflect increased cortical activation, our results suggest that individuals with an efficiently-working right TPJ possess capacities to mediate specific cognitive processes that predispose them towards stronger implicit intergroup bias. As the human species has evolved living in distinct social groups, the capacity to quickly differentiate friend from foe became highly adaptive and might thus constitute an essential part of human nature.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Gianotti, Lorena, Baumgartner, Thomas, Knoch, Daria


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Oxford University Press




Lorena Gianotti

Date Deposited:

14 May 2019 13:00

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:25

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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