Self-affirmation activates the ventral striatum: a possible reward-related mechanism for self-affirmation

Dutcher, Janine M, Creswell, J David, Pacilio, Laura E, Harris, Peter R, Klein, William M P, Levine, John M, Bower, Julienne E, Muscatell, Keely A and Eisenberger, Naomi I (2016) Self-affirmation activates the ventral striatum: a possible reward-related mechanism for self-affirmation. Psychological Science, 27 (4). pp. 455-66. ISSN 1467-9280

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Abstract

Self-affirmation (reflecting on important personal values) has been shown to have a range of positive effects; however, the neural basis of self-affirmation is not known. Building on studies showing that thinking about self-preferences activates neural reward pathways, we hypothesized that self-affirmation would activate brain reward circuitry during functional MRI (fMRI) studies. In Study 1, with college students, making judgments about important personal values during self-affirmation activated neural reward regions (i.e., ventral striatum), whereas making preference judgments that were not self-relevant did not. Study 2 replicated these results in a community sample, again showing that self-affirmation activated the ventral striatum. These are among the first fMRI studies to identify neural processes during self-affirmation. The findings extend theory by showing that self-affirmation may be rewarding and may provide a first step toward identifying a neural mechanism by which self-affirmation may produce a wide range of beneficial effects.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 24 May 2016 10:54
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 09:06
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/61138

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