CitationEisenberger, Naomi I.; Inagaki, Tristen K.; Muscatell, Keely A.; Byrne Haltom, Kate E.; & Leary, Mark R. (2011). The Neural Sociometer: Brain Mechanisms Underlying State Self-Esteem. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(11), 3448-3455.
AbstractOn the basis of the importance of social connection for survival, humans may have evolved a "sociometer"-a mechanism that translates perceptions of rejection or acceptance into state self-esteem. Here, we explored the neural underpinnings of the sociometer by examining whether neural regions responsive to rejection or acceptance were associated with state self-esteem. Participants underwent fMRI while viewing feedback words ("interesting," "boring") ostensibly chosen by another individual (confederate) to describe the participant's previously recorded interview. Participants rated their state self-esteem in response to each feedback word. Results demonstrated that greater activity in rejection-related neural regions (dorsal ACC, anterior insula) and mentalizing regions was associated with lower-state self-esteem. Additionally, participants whose self-esteem decreased from prescan to postscan versus those whose self-esteem did not showed greater medial prefrontal cortical activity, previously associated with self-referential processing, in response to negative feedback. Together, the results inform our understanding of the origin and nature of our feelings about ourselves.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Author(s)Eisenberger, Naomi I.
Inagaki, Tristen K.
Muscatell, Keely A.
Byrne Haltom, Kate E.
Leary, Mark R.