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INTRODUCTION: 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. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that noradrenaline pathways might modulate racial bias by acting on the processing of categorisation in the fusiform gyrus.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychopharmacology (Berl)

Publication Date





2951 - 2958


Adrenergic beta-Antagonists, African Americans, Attitude, Double-Blind Method, European Continental Ancestry Group, Face, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Photic Stimulation, Prejudice, Propranolol, Temporal Lobe, Young Adult