Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

4-2016

Publication Source

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

Volume

11

Issue

4

Start Page

621

Last Page

629

DOI

10.1093/scan/nsv136

Abstract

Self-affirmation theory posits that people are motivated to maintain a positive self-view and that threats to perceived self-competence are met with resistance. When threatened, self-affirmations can restore self-competence by allowing individuals to reflect on sources of self-worth, such as core values. Many questions exist, however, about the underlying mechanisms associated with self-affirmation. We examined the neural mechanisms of self-affirmation with a task developed for use in a functional magnetic resonance imaging environment. Results of a region of interest analysis demonstrated that participants who were affirmed (compared with unaffirmed participants) showed increased activity in key regions of the brain’s self-processing (medial prefrontal cortex + posterior cingulate cortex) and valuation (ventral striatum + ventral medial prefrontal cortex) systems when reflecting on future-oriented core values (compared with everyday activities). Furthermore, this neural activity went on to predict changes in sedentary behavior consistent with successful affirmation in response to a separate physical activity intervention. These results highlight neural processes associated with successful self-affirmation, and further suggest that key pathways may be amplified in conjunction with prospection.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© The Author (2015). This article is published Open Access under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com

Keywords

self-affirmation, fMRI, reward, positive valuation, emotion regulation

Share

COinS
 

Date Posted: 15 June 2018