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Neural circuits associated with positive and negative self-appraisal


Brühl, A B; Rufer, M; Kaffenberger, T; Baur, V; Herwig, U (2014). Neural circuits associated with positive and negative self-appraisal. Neuroscience, 265:48-59.

Abstract

Self-worth is particularly influenced by self-appraisal, which is negatively biased in many psychiatric disorders. Positive and negative self-appraisals also shape current emotional states or even evoke defensive reactions, when they are incongruent with a subject's current state. Prior studies have mainly used externally given evaluative appraisals. In this study, 30 subjects used individual negative and positive self-appraisals during functional magnetic resonance imaging. We additionally investigated the effects of such self-appraisals onto the subsequent perception of photos of the individual subjects. Both self-appraisal conditions activated dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex compared to the neutral condition. Positive self-appraisal evoked stronger activity than negative self-appraisal in the amygdala, ventral striatum and anterior cingulate cortex, whereas negative self-appraisal was associated with increased activity in the occipital regions. Positive self-appraisal had no effect on the perception of a photo of oneself, whereas negative appraisal increased activity in the anterior insula and parietal regions. Overall, positive self-appraisal activated more emotion-related brain regions, whereas negative self-appraisal had a relatively stronger influence on perception-related brain activity. These findings could on the one hand explain the effect of negative self-appraisal on the behavior in the real world and on the other hand support a stronger focus of psychotherapy on enhancing positive self-appraisals.

Self-worth is particularly influenced by self-appraisal, which is negatively biased in many psychiatric disorders. Positive and negative self-appraisals also shape current emotional states or even evoke defensive reactions, when they are incongruent with a subject's current state. Prior studies have mainly used externally given evaluative appraisals. In this study, 30 subjects used individual negative and positive self-appraisals during functional magnetic resonance imaging. We additionally investigated the effects of such self-appraisals onto the subsequent perception of photos of the individual subjects. Both self-appraisal conditions activated dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex compared to the neutral condition. Positive self-appraisal evoked stronger activity than negative self-appraisal in the amygdala, ventral striatum and anterior cingulate cortex, whereas negative self-appraisal was associated with increased activity in the occipital regions. Positive self-appraisal had no effect on the perception of a photo of oneself, whereas negative appraisal increased activity in the anterior insula and parietal regions. Overall, positive self-appraisal activated more emotion-related brain regions, whereas negative self-appraisal had a relatively stronger influence on perception-related brain activity. These findings could on the one hand explain the effect of negative self-appraisal on the behavior in the real world and on the other hand support a stronger focus of psychotherapy on enhancing positive self-appraisals.

Citations

7 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:18 April 2014
Deposited On:14 Jan 2015 12:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:44
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0306-4522
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.01.053
PubMed ID:24502922

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