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

ABSTRACT 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.

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