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Self-Affirmation Activates the Ventral Striatum: A Possible Reward-Related Mechanism for Self-Affirmation

Citation

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.; & Eisenberger, Naomi I. (2016). Self-Affirmation Activates the Ventral Striatum: A Possible Reward-Related Mechanism for Self-Affirmation. Psychological Science, 27(4), 455-66.

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.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797615625989

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Psychological Science

Author(s)

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.
Eisenberger, Naomi I.

Year Published

2016

Volume Number

27

Issue Number

4

Pages

455-66

Reference ID

12948