Neural Correlates of Direct and Reflected Self-Appraisals in Adolescents and Adults: When Social Perspective-Taking Informs Self-Perception

Department of Psychology, 1227 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1227, USA.
Child Development (Impact Factor: 4.92). 07/2009; 80(4):1016-38. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01314.x
Source: PubMed


Classic theories of self-development suggest people define themselves in part through internalized perceptions of other people's beliefs about them, known as reflected self-appraisals. This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the neural correlates of direct and reflected self-appraisals in adolescence (N = 12, ages 11-14 years) and adulthood (N = 12, ages 23-30 years). During direct self-reflection, adolescents demonstrated greater activity than adults in networks relevant to self-perception (medial prefrontal and parietal cortices) and social-cognition (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, temporal-parietal junction, and posterior superior temporal sulcus), suggesting adolescent self-construals may rely more heavily on others' perspectives about the self. Activity in the medial fronto-parietal network was also enhanced when adolescents took the perspective of someone more relevant to a given domain.

Download full-text


Available from: Mirella Dapretto, Oct 05, 2015
18 Reads
  • Source
    • "Implicitly or explicitly, people form metaperceptions, or beliefs about how other people perceive them. Metaperceptions powerfully shape how people feel about themselves and inform decisions such as how to behave as well as who to befriend, who to form professional alliances with, and who to pursue as a romantic partner (Elfenbein, Eisenkraft, & Ding, 2009; Leary, 2005; Murray, Holmes, MacDonald, & Ellsworth, 1998; Pfeifer et al., 2009; Schlenker & Weigold, 1992). Thus, metaperceptions provide an implicit map that people use to navigate their social worlds. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Do people with personality problems have insight into how others experience them? In a large community sample of adults (N = 641), the authors examined whether people with personality disorder (PD) symptoms were aware of how a close acquaintance (i.e., a romantic partner, family member, or friend) perceived them by measuring participants' metaperceptions and self-perceptions as well as their acquaintance's impression of them on Five-Factor Model traits. Compared to people with fewer PD symptoms, people with more PD symptoms tended to be less accurate and tended to overestimate the negativity of the impressions they made on their acquaintance, especially for the traits of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Interestingly, these individuals did not necessarily assume that their acquaintance perceived them as they perceived themselves; instead, poor insight was likely due to their inability to detect or utilize information other than their self-perceptions. Implications for the conceptualization, measurement, and treatment of PDs are discussed.
    Journal of personality disorders 08/2015; 29(4):449-67. DOI:10.1521/pedi.2015.29.4.449 · 3.08 Impact Factor
    • "The authors interpreted these findings to suggest that the development of youth social self-evaluations is related to biological , in addition to interpersonal, changes. After studying the neural correlates of adolescent selfevaluations across these two domains, Pfeifer and colleagues examined self-processing across multiple perspectives (Pfeifer et al., 2009). Specifically, the authors investigated if neural recruitment during self-evaluations differed according to the perspective that participants adopted and the relevancy of a given perspective to an evaluative domain. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adolescence is a key transitional period, characterized by significant physical, psychological, and social changes, which encourage increased self-exploration and self-evaluation. This chapter examines adolescent self-concept development through the lens of social cognitive neuroscience. Key social and cognitive changes are summarized, particularly enhanced perspective-taking and peer influence. These behavioral changes are then linked with relevant trajectories of functional brain development. An overview of neuroimaging research exploring self-evaluative processing is provided, underscoring the importance of cortical midline structures, as well as regions supporting reward-processing and social cognition. Adolescent and adult neural patterns are also compared, highlighting neurodevelopmental differences within the aforementioned regions.
    Brain mapping: An encyclopedic reference, Edited by Arthur Toga, 01/2015: pages 45-51; Elsevier.
  • Source
    • "In particular , activity recruited during adolescent direct social self-evaluations was weaker than expected, relative to previous research (Pfeifer et al., 2013b). Furthermore, contrary to our hypotheses and inconsistent with previous research (Pfeifer et al., 2009), adolescents did not recruit significant social cognition regions, such as TPJ, during direct or reflected self-evaluations, relative to malleabilityevaluations , nor greater activity than adults during direct self-evaluations, relative to malleability-evaluations. These divergent findings may be driven by the implementation of a novel control condition (evaluating trait malleability), the adoption of a specific paradigm design [modeling conditions as events, not blocks, which may represent transient, not sustained, effects (e.g., Petersen and Dubis, 2011)], or the use of more conservative preprocessing/data analysis methods. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The current fMRI study investigated the neural foundations of evaluating oneself and others during early adolescence and young adulthood. Eighteen early adolescents (ages 11-14, M = 12.6) and 19 young adults (ages 22-31, M = 25.6) evaluated if academic, physical, and social traits described themselves directly (direct self-evaluations), described their best friend directly (direct other-evaluations), described themselves from their best friend's perspective (reflected self-evaluations), or in general could change over time (control malleability-evaluations). Compared to control evaluations, both adolescents and adults recruited cortical midline structures during direct and reflected self-evaluations, as well as during direct other-evaluations, converging with previous research. However, unique to this study was a significant three-way interaction between age group, evaluative perspective, and domain within bilateral ventral striatum. Region of interest analyses demonstrated a significant evaluative perspective by domain interaction within the adolescent sample only. Adolescents recruited greatest bilateral ventral striatum during reflected social self-evaluations, which was positively correlated with age and pubertal development. These findings suggest that reflected social self-evaluations, made from the inferred perspective of a close peer, may be especially self-relevant, salient, or rewarding to adolescent self-processing–particularly during the progression through adolescence–and this feature persists into adulthood.
    04/2014; 8. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2014.01.003
Show more