Spontaneous default mode network phase-locking moderates performance perceptions under stereotype threat

Chad E. Forbes*, Jordan B. Leitner, Kelly Duran-Jordan, Adam B. Magerman, Toni Schmader, John J.B. Allen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study assessed whether individual differences in self-oriented neural processing were associated with performance perceptions of minority students under stereotype threat. Resting electroencephalographic activity recorded in white and minority participants was used to predict later estimates of task errors and self-doubt on a presumed measure of intelligence. We assessed spontaneous phase-locking between dipole sources in left lateral parietal cortex (LPC), precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (P/PCC), and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC); three regions of the default mode network (DMN) that are integral for self-oriented processing. Results revealed that minorities with greater LPC-P/PCC phase-locking in the theta band reported more accurate error estimations. All individuals experienced less self-doubt to the extent they exhibited greater LPC-MPFC phase-locking in the alpha band but this effect was driven by minorities. Minorities also reported more self-doubt to the extent they overestimated errors. Findings reveal novel neural moderators of stereotype threat effects on subjective experience. Spontaneous synchronization between DMN regions may play a role in anticipatory coping mechanisms that buffer individuals from stereotype threat.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbernsu145
Pages (from-to)994-1002
Number of pages9
JournalSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Default-mode network
  • Performance monitoring
  • Social neuroscience
  • Spontaneous phase locking
  • Stereotype threat


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