Self-Affirmation Activates the Ventral Striatum: A Possible Reward-Related Mechanism for Self-Affirmation.
|Self-Affirmation Activates the Ventral Striatum: A Possible Reward-Related Mechanism for Self-Affirmation.
|Year of Publication
|Dutcher JM, J Creswell D, Pacilio LE, Harris PR, Klein WMP, Levine JM, Bower JE, Muscatell KA, Eisenberger NI
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.