Amygdala sensitivity to race is not present in childhood but emerges over adolescence.

Telzer EH, Humphreys KL, Shapiro M, Tottenham N
J Cogn Neurosci. 2013 25 (2): 234-44

PMID: 23066731 · PMCID: PMC3628780 · DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00311

Neuroimaging research in adults has consistently found that differential perception of race is associated with increased amygdala activity. We hypothesized that such neural biases unlikely reflect innate processes but instead emerge over development. In the current study, we used fMRI to examine the neurodevelopmental trajectory of the amygdala in response to race across childhood and adolescence ranging from 4 to 16 years. Thirty-two youths viewed African American and European American faces during a functional brain scan. Results suggest that differential amygdala response to African American faces does not emerge until adolescence, reflecting the increasing salience of race across development. In addition, greater peer diversity was associated with attenuated amygdala response to African American faces, suggesting that intergroup racial contact may reduce the salience of race.

MeSH Terms (19)

Adolescent Adolescent Behavior Adolescent Development African Americans Amygdala Child Child, Preschool Child Behavior Child Development Emotions European Continental Ancestry Group Face Female Humans Magnetic Resonance Imaging Male Pattern Recognition, Visual Photic Stimulation Social Behavior

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