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Poster B42

The impact of social acceptance on the self-referential processing across different domains: an fMRI study

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Yi Ding1,2,3 (, Kentaro Oba1, Ryo Ishibashi1,4, Shinsuke Suzuki5, Motoaki Sugiura1,6; 1Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 2Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 3Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan, 4Center for Information and Neural Networks, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Osaka, Japan, 5Brain, Mind and Markets Laboratory, Department of Finance, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 6International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Being accepted by others is a fundamental need, which drives people to alter their behavior. Previous studies found that people positively or negatively evaluated themselves across different social values and valence. These biases in self-evaluation may stem from interpersonal strategies aimed at gaining acceptance. However, the association between the neural mechanism of self-evaluation in different domains and the sense of acceptance is unclear. Forty-five healthy young adults were instructed to rate themselves or a celebrity using adjectives from four domains, combining social values (morality and competence) and valences (positive and negative). To measure individual differences in social acceptance, participants completed the Sense of Acceptance scale. Results showed that during self-referential processing ([self > other]), sense of acceptance was positively associated with activation in temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and precuneus for positive moral words and was negatively related to ventral medial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) for negative moral and competence words. The activation of TPJ and precuneus may indicate that individuals with higher sense of acceptance are more likely to mentalizing during self-evaluation of morality. While activation of VMPFC suggests that individuals with lower sense of acceptance are more likely to regulate emotion. We speculate that people who perceive being accepted mentalize others’ beliefs when evaluating morality and people who do not perceive being accepted need to regulate their emotion during evaluating negative words. These findings provide crucial evidence for the impact of social acceptance on self-evaluation.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Self perception


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