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Poster B43

Yours is mine: Neural self-partner representation overlap is associated with support, relationship satisfaction, and well-being

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

Shanshan Ma1 (, Andrea M. Coppola1, Erin L. Maresh2, David A. Sbarra1, Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna1; 1University of Arizona, 2Minneapolis VA Health Care System

The self-expansion model of love posits that romantic partners are perceived as an extension of the self and psychological interdependence is an emergent property of adult attachment relationships. Although considerable behavioral work investigates self-other overlap, relatively little neuroscientific research investigates neural-level self-partner overlap in romantic relationships. Here we evaluate neural-level self-partner representation overlap during positive and negative social feedback in relation to a comprehensive set of outcomes among romantic partners. Fifty-one heterosexual romantic couples (N = 102) completed fMRI scans while processing positive or negative social feedback directed to themselves and their partners. Using representational similarity analysis and the actor-partner interdependence model, findings indicate that during positive feedback, (1) males’ self-partner representation overlap in ventral medial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) and amygdala are positively associated with their daily support provision, but overlap in anterior insula (AI) exhibits negative correlation with their partner's daily support; (2) males’ self-partner overlap in VMPFC is positively related to both partners' reports of relationship satisfaction; (3) females’ self-partner representation overlap in amygdala is positively associated with their partner's depression. During negative feedback, we find that (1) males’ self-partner representation overlap in AI is positively correlated with their partner's relationship satisfaction; (2) females’ self-partner representation overlap in amygdala exhibits negative and positive associations with their partner's relationship satisfaction and depression, respectively. These findings unveil gender-specific association patterns between neural self-partner overlap and daily support, relationship satisfaction, and depression, suggesting that neural representational overlap may serve as a marker of support, relationship satisfaction, and well-being in close relationships.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Self perception


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