β-Adrenoceptor blockade modulates fusiform gyrus activity to black versus white faces.Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2015; 232(16):2951-8P
The beta-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol is known to reduce peripheral and central activity of noradrenaline. A recent study found that intervention with propranolol diminished negative implicit racial bias.
MATERIALS AND METHOD
The current study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in order to determine the neural correlates of this effect. Healthy volunteers (N = 40) of white ethnic origin received a single oral dose (40 mg) of propranolol, in a randomised, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled design, before viewing unfamiliar faces of same and other race.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
We found significantly reduced activity in the fusiform gyrus and thalamus following propranolol to out-group faces only. Additionally, propranolol lowered the implicit attitude score, without affecting explicit prejudice measure.
These findings suggest that noradrenaline pathways might modulate racial bias by acting on the processing of categorisation in the fusiform gyrus.