Brain Activations during Judgments of
Positive Self-conscious Emotion and
Positive Basic Emotion: Pride and Joy
Hidehiko Takahashi1,2, Masato Matsuura3, Michihiko Koeda4,
Noriaki Yahata5, Tetsuya Suhara1, Motoichiro Kato6and
1Department of Molecular Neuroimaging, National Institute of
Radiological Sciences, Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba, Japan 263-
8555,2Department of psychiatry, Asai Hospital, Tougane,
Japan3Department of Life Sciences and Bioinformatics,
Graduate School of Health Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental
University, Tokyo, Japan,4Departments of Neuropsychiatry
and5Departments of Pharmacology, Nippon Medical School,
and6Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School
of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
We aimed to investigate the neural correlates associated with
judgments of a positive self-conscious emotion, pride, and elucidate
the difference between pride and a basic positive emotion, joy, at
the neural basis level using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Study of the neural basis associated with pride might contribute to
a better understanding of the pride-related behaviors observed in
neuropsychiatric disorders. Sixteen healthy volunteers were studied.
The participants read sentences expressing joy or pride contents
during the scans. Pride conditions activated the right posterior
superior temporal sulcus and left temporal pole, the regions
implicated in the neural substrate of social cognition or theory of
mind. However, against our prediction, we did not find brain
activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, a region responsible for
inferring others’ intention or self-reflection. Joy condition produced
activations in the ventral striatum and insula/operculum, the key
nodes of processing of hedonic or appetitive stimuli. Our results
support the idea that pride is a self-conscious emotion, requiring the
ability to detect the intention of others. At the same time, judgment
of pride might require less self-reflection compared with those of
negative self-conscious emotions such as guilt or embarrassment.
Keywords: medial prefrontal cortex, positive emotions, pride, superior
temporal sulcus, theory of mind, ventral striatum
Although there have been numerous neuroimaging studies on
basic emotions (fear, disgust, happiness, and sadness) that have
led to a better understanding of the neuroanatomical correlates
of emotions (Lane et al. 1997; Phan et al. 2002), only a few
studies on complex social emotions such as guilt, embarrass-
ment, and jealousy have been reported (Shin et al. 2000; Berthoz
et al. 2002; Takahashi et al. 2004, 2006).
We previously examined brain activation associated with
negative self-conscious emotions, guilt, and embarrassment
(Takahashi et al. 2004). Self-conscious emotions are founded
in social relationship and arise from concerns about others’
evaluations of self (Eisenberg 2000; Tangney and Dearing 2002;
Haidt 2003; Kalat and Shiota 2006). In other words, one needs
the ability to represent the mental states of others, that is,
theory of mind (ToM), to recognize self-conscious emotions.
Negative evaluation of self or the behavior of self is fundamental
to guilt and embarrassment, whereas positive evaluation of self
leads to the emotion of pride. Negative self-conscious emotions
promote moral behavior and interpersonal etiquette (Eisenberg
2000; Haidt 2003). Impairment of processing these emotions
could lead to amoral, socially inappropriate behaviors observed
in neuropsychiatric disorders (Beer et al. 2003; Miller et al.
2003; Sturm et al. 2006).
Supporting the notion that self-conscious emotions involve
inferences about others’ evaluation of self (Leary 2007),
judgment of guilt and embarrassment produced activations in
the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), posterior superior tem-
poral sulcus (pSTS), and temporal poles (Takahashi et al. 2004;
Kalat and Shiota 2006), the regions implicated in ToM, social
cognition (Adolphs 2001; Calarge et al. 2003; Frith U and Frith
CD 2003; Gallagher and Frith 2003), and moral judgment
(Greene and Haidt 2002; Moll et al. 2005).
In contrast, a positive self-conscious emotion, pride has been
largely unstudied by researchers. Pride refers to self-esteem, joy,
or pleasure derived from achievements. It arises when people
believe that they are responsible for desired outcomes (Leary
2007). As a self-conscious emotion, pride also drives people to
behave in moral, socially appropriate ways (Tracy and Robins
2004a). Specifically, the ‘‘achievement-oriented’’ form of pride
promotes prosocial behaviors, such as caregiving and achieve-
ment (Tracy and Robins 2004b). However, the hubristic form of
pride could be maladaptive, and impairment of processing pride
could be related to some psychiatric disorders. Narcissistic
personality disorder is characterized by a grandiose sense of
self-importance and lack of empathy (American Psychiatric
Association 1994). It was reported that empathy and ToM rely
on common networks, the MPFC, pSTS, and temporal poles
(Vollm et al. 2006). Therefore, the hubristic form of pride could
be regarded as a dysfunction of ToM. Affective disorder could
also be linked to impairment of the processing of pride.
Manic state is a condition with inflated self-esteem, whereas
depressive episode could be a condition with low self-esteem
(American Psychiatric Association 1994). Studying the neural
substrates associated with pride should add to the understand-
ing of the neural basis of these neuropsychiatric disorders.
We aimed to measure brain activations associated with the
judgment of pride by showing scenarios, comparing them with
brain activations associated with the primary positive emotion,
joy, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We
hypothesized that joy and pride conditions would show different
brain activation patterns, and specifically, that joy condition
would activate brain regions involved in hedonic processing, for
example, the ventral striatum (Mobbs et al. 2003, 2005; Britton
et al. 2006), whereas pride condition would activate the brain
regions involved in social cognition (Adolphs 2001) or ToM
(Calarge et al. 2003; Frith U and Frith CD 2003; Gallagher and
Frith 2003), for example, MPFC, pSTS, and temporal poles.
Cerebral Cortex April 2008;18:898--903
Advance Access publication July 17, 2007
? The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
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Materials and Methods
Sixteen healthy right-handed Japanese university students (8 men, mean
age 21.5 years, standard deviation [SD] = 2.2; 8 women, mean age 21.3
years, SD = 1.3) were studied. Their mean educational achievement level
was 14.4 years (SD = 1.3). They did not meet any criteria for psychiatric
disorders. None of the controls were taking alcohol or medication at the
time nor did they have a history of psychiatric disorder, significant
physical illness, head injury, neurological disorder, or alcohol or drug
dependence. All subjects underwent an MRI to rule out cerebral
anatomic abnormalities. After complete explanation of the study,
written informed consent was obtained from all subjects, and the study
was approved by the Ethics Committee.
Three types of short sentences were provided (neutral, joy, and pride).
Eachsentencewas writteninJapaneseandinthe firstperson, pasttense.
Each sentence was expected to express joy, pride, or no prominent
emotional content. We used joyful scenarios depicting hedonic,
appetitive, and survival events like eating, reproduction, and economic
behaviors because these stimuli are thought to be directly related to
‘‘basic’’ positive emotional processing. For most of the pride sentences,
we used scenarios in which the protagonist was a winner of a prize or
competition as a result of achievement. In order to validate our
expected results, we conducted an initial survey. Other university
students(20 men and 20 women,mean age 22.5years, SD = 3.3) thanthe
subjects participating in this fMRI study were screened. We prepared
28--32 sentences for each of 3 conditions (neutral, joy, and pride). The
described situations were rated according to how joyful or proud they
were using a 7-point analog scale (0 = none, 6 = extremely intense).
Based on the initial survey, we selected 18 sentences for each of the 3
conditions. The selected joy sentences were judged to express joy. The
mean rating of joy was 4.3 (SD = 0.5). The selected pride sentences were
judgedto expresspride.Themeanrating ofpride was 4.5(SD = 0.3).The
neutral sentences were judged to express virtually no joy or pride. The
mean ratings of joy and pride for neutral sentences were 0.7 (SD = 0.3)
and 0.4 (SD = 0.2), respectively. Examples of the sentences are shown in
Table 1. The sentences were projected via a computer and a telephoto
lens onto a screen mounted on a head coil. The subjects were instructed
to read the sentences silently and were told to imagine that the scenario
protagonist was himself/herself. They were also told that they should
rate the sentences according to how joyful or pride instilling the
situations were. After reading each sentence, the subjects were
instructed to press a selection button with the right index finger,
indicating that they had read and understood it. The experimental
design consisted of 6 blocks for each of the 3 conditions (neutral, joy,
and pride) interleaved with 20-s rest periods. The order of presentation
for the 3 conditions was randomized. During the rest condition,
participants viewed a crosshair pattern projected to the center of the
screen. In each 24-s block, 3 different sentences of the same emotional
class were presented for 8 s each. After the scan, the subjects read the
sentences presented during the scan, and they were asked to rate the
sentences according to how they would feel if the scenario protagonist
were himself/herself. The participants rated the intensity of joy, pride,
and other emotions (anger, sadness, fear, disgust, and shame) for each
sentence using a 7-point analog scale.
Images were acquired with a 1.5-Tesla Signa system (General Electric,
Milwaukee, WI). Functional images of 203 volumes were acquired with
2-weighted gradient echo planar imaging sequences sensitive to blood
oxygenation level--dependent contrast. Each volume consisted of 40
transaxial contiguous slices with a slice thickness of 3 mm to cover
almost the whole brain (flip angle, 90?; time echo [TE], 50 ms; time
repetition [TR], 4 s; matrix, 64 3 64; field of view, 24 3 24 cm). High-
resolution, T1-weighted anatomic images were acquired for anatomic
comparison (124 contiguous axial slices, 3-dimensional [3D] spoiled
Grass sequence, slice thickness 1.5 mm, TE, 9 ms; TR, 22 ms; flip angle,
30?; matrix, 256 3 192; field of view, 25 3 25 cm).
Analysis of Functional Imaging Data
Data analysis was performed with statistical parametric mapping
software package (SPM02) (Wellcome Department of Cognitive
Neurology, London, UK) running with MATLAB (Mathworks, Natick,
MA). All volumes were realigned to the first volume of each session to
correctfor subjectmotion and were spatially normalized to the standard
space defined by the Montreal Neurological Institute template. After
normalization, all scans had a resolution of 2 3 2 3 2 mm3. Functional
images were spatially smoothed with a 3D isotropic Gaussian kernel
(full width at half maximum of 8 mm). Low-frequency noise was
removedby applyinga high-pass filter (cutoffperiod = 192 s)to the fMRI
time series at each voxel. A temporal smoothing function was applied to
the fMRI time series to enhance the temporal signal-to-noise ratio.
Significant hemodynamic changes for each condition were examined
using the general linear model with boxcar functions convoluted with
a hemodynamic response function. Statistical parametric maps for each
contrast of the t-statistic were calculated on a voxel-by-voxel basis.
To assess the specific condition effect, we used the contrasts of joy
minus neutral (J–N), pride minus neutral (P–N), and pride minus joy
(P–J). A random effects model, which estimates the error variance for
each condition across the subjects, was implemented for group analysis.
This procedure provides a better generalization for the population from
which data are obtained. The contrast images were obtained from
single-subject analysis and entered into the group analysis. A one-sample
t-test was applied to determine group activation for each effect. To
assess common activation in P–N and J–N conditions, we conducted
a conjunction analysis of P–N and J–N contrasts at the second level. A
statistical threshold of P < 0.05 corrected for multiple comparisons
across the whole-brain was used, except for a priori hypothesized
regions, which were thresholded at P < 0.0005 uncorrected (only
clusters involving 10 or more contiguous voxels are reported). These
a priori regions of interest included the ToM-related regions (MPFC,
pSTS, and temporal poles), reward/food-related regions (striatum,
insula, and orbitofrontal cortex), and emotion-related limbic regions
(amygdalohippocampal regions and anterior cingulate cortex). We
conducted regression analyses to demonstrate a more direct link
between regional brain activities with the subjective judgments of joy
and pride. Using the mean of the ratings of joy and pride for each subject
as the covariate, regression analyses with the contrasts (J–N and P–N)
and the covariate were done at the second level (height threshold at P <
0.001, uncorrected, and extent threshold of 5 voxels). The masks of J–N
and P–N contrasts from one-sample t-test (P < 0.001) were applied to
confine the regions where significant activations were observed. Using
Examples of sentences
NeutralI took a class
at the college.
I had breakfast.
I watched the Olympics on TV.
I recorded a baseball game on video tape.
I prepared for an examination.
I went to school yesterday.
I watched sports news on TV.
I bought a medicine for cold.
I won a lottery.
I won at gambling at a casino.
I ate my favorite cake.
I had a date with my girl/boy friend.
I had a delicious dinner.
I received a Christmas present.
I went to Hawaii with my friends.
I was gifted with a bouquet on my birthday.
I was awarded a
prize for my novel.
I won the championship in a golf tournament.
I got a perfect score in mathematics.
I graduated at the head of my class.
I won the first prize in a piano contest.
I graduated from the most prestigious university.
I obtained a scholarship.
I won a prize at a scientific meeting.
Cerebral Cortex April 2008, V 18 N 4 899
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the effect sizes, representing the percent signal changes, of the
contrasts (J–N and P–N) at the peak coordinates uncovered in the
regression analyses, we plotted the fMRI signal changes and ratings of
joy and pride.
The neutral sentences were judged as carrying no prominent
emotions. The mean ratings of joy and pride for neutral
sentences were, respectively, 0.7 (SD = 0.7) and 0.4 (SD = 0.4),
for joy sentences 4.9 (SD = 0.7) and 1.1 (SD = 1.1), and for pride
4.1 (SD = 0.9) and 4.9 (SD = 0.6). Ratings of other emotions
(anger, sadness, fear, disgust, and shame) were virtually zero.
Although pride sentences were judged as containing joy, their
mean ratings of pride were significantly greater than those of joy
(t = 2.9, degrees of freedom [df] = 30, P = 0.007). The mean
ratings of joy were significantly greater for joy sentences than
for pride sentences (t = 2.9, df = 30, P = 0.007).
Pride condition relative to neutral condition (P–N) produced
greater activations in the right pSTS, left temporal pole (Table 2
and Fig. 1A). We did not find significant activation in the MPFC.
Joy condition relative to neutral condition (J–N) produced
greater activations in the ventral striatum including the nucleus
accumbens, anterior cingulate cortex, hippocampal regions,
and insula/operculum (Table 2 and Fig. 1B). P–J condition
produced greater activations in the right pSTS (x = 42, y = –66,
z = 22; t = 7.39; 92 voxels). A conjunction analysis of P–N and J–N
contrasts revealed no significant activations.
Regression analyses revealed positive linear correlations
between the self-rating of pride and the degree of activation
in the pSTS (middle temporal gyrus, x = 44, y = –66, z = 20;
t = 5.25; 14 voxels) (Figs 2A and 3A). There were positive linear
correlations between the self-rating of joy and the degree of
activation in the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens, x = –12,
y = 2, z = –6; t = 6.26; 6 voxels) (Figs 2B and 3B).
This study demonstrated that the brain activations during
judgments of the positive self-conscious emotion, pride,
showed different patterns from those of the basic positive
emotion, joy. Pride conditions relative to neutral condition
produced greater activity in the right pSTS and left temporal
pole, the components of neural substrates of social cognition or
ToM (Allison et al. 2000; Adolphs 2001; Frith U and Frith CD
2003; Gallagher and Frith 2003; Moll et al. 2005). In contrast, joy
conditions relative to neutral condition produced greater
activity in the key nodes of processing hedonic and appetitive
stimuli, the ventral striatum including the nucleus accumbens
(Breiter and Rosen 1999; Salamone et al. 2003; Cardinal and
Everitt 2004) and insula/operculum (Britton et al. 2006;
Porubska et al. 2006; Rolls 2006). In addition, regression
analyses showed that the subjective ratings of pride and joy
correlated with the degrees of activation in the pSTS and ventral
Pride, by definition, is subsumed by basic emotion, joy (Tracy
and Robins 2004a). In fact, our behavioral rating results showed
that ratings of joy for pride sentences were high, although they
were lower for pride sentences than for joy sentences.
Therefore, it was expected that activations in the regions
related to basic emotions, for example, the ventral striatum,
might be observed. However, significant activation in such
regions was not found, and the conjunction analysis of P–N and
J–N did not find common activation in these regions, suggesting
that joy derived from pride scenarios was not high enough to
activate these regions. We used joyful scenarios containing
hedonic and appetitive events that usually motivate biological
behaviors like eating, reproduction, and economic behaviors.
The mesolimbic dopamine system from the ventral tegmental
area to the nucleus accumbens mediates the motivation to
obtain reward. In other words, dopamine systems are more
necessary for ‘‘wanting’’ incentives than for ‘‘liking’’ them
(Berridge and Robinson 1998). Motivational processes are
important for positive emotions such as happiness and joy
(Lyubomirsky 2001). In an fMRI environment, it is difficult to
induce liking, but participants might have felt ‘‘wanting’’ for
reward such as money or food, leading to activation in the
ventral striatum (Breiter and Rosen 1999; Salamone et al. 2003;
Cardinal and Everitt 2004). In contrast, although pride senten-
ces were articulated as joyful, their lack of hedonic contents
might account for the lack of activation in such regions.
Figure 1. Images showing brain activation in joy and pride conditions relative to
neutral condition. (A) Pride minus neutral. Activated regions were in the right posterior
STS and left temporal pole. (B) Joy minus neutral. Activations in the ventral striatum,
insula/operculum, and anterior cingulate were shown. Significant differences were
recognized at a height threshold (t [ 4.07; P \ 0.0005, uncorrected) and extent
threshold (10 voxels).
Brain activations in pride condition and joy condition relative to neutral condition
Brain regionsL/R Coordinatest-score
Anterior cingulate cortex
Note: L, left; R, right. Coordinates and t-score refer to the peak of each brain region.
Brain Activations Associated with Pride and Joy
Takahashi et al.
by guest on June 8, 2013
Furthermore, as discussed below, unfamiliarity with some
events depicted in pride scenarios might attenuate wanting
for such events.
Our previous study has shown activation in the 3 key regions
of ToM, the MPFC, pSTS, and temporal poles (Frith U and Frith
CD 2003; Gallagher and Frith 2003) during the evaluative
process of negative self-conscious emotions such as guilt and
embarrassment (Takahashi et al. 2004). In addition, a recent
clinical study reported that patients with frontotemporal lobar
degeneration had impaired processing of negative self-
conscious emotions (Sturmet al.2006).Therefore,weexpected
that a positive self-conscious emotion would also recruit these
regions. Although activations in the pSTS and temporal poles by
pride scenarios were in agreement with our prediction, in
disagreement was the lack of significant activation in the MPFC.
Although the precise roles of these 3 regions remain unclear,
it was suggested that the pSTS and temporal poles are more
concerned with the nature of socially relevant stimuli
(Gallagher and Frith 2003; Decety and Grezes 2006). In other
words, these regions are involved mainly in the early stage of
social cognition, initial appraisal of socially relevant stimuli that
support ToM ability, but not in ToM reasoning per se (Frith U
and Frith CD 2003; Gallagher and Frith 2003).
Originally, the STS was known to be activated by biological
motions such as movement of eyes, mouth, hands, and body
(Allison et al. 2000), and it has been suggested to have a more
general function in social cognition such as detecting explicit
behavioral information that signals the intention of others
(Gallagher and Frith 2003) and behavior of agents (Frith U
and Frith CD 2003). The higher order association cortices
including the pSTS mature in the last stage of brain development
(Gogtay et al. 2004), and this might be associated with the fact
that, like all self-conscious emotions, pride emerges later in the
course of development than basic emotions like fear and joy
(Tracy and Robins 2007). In addition, impairments in recogniz-
ing self-conscious emotions have been reported in children
with autism (Capps et al. 1992; Kasari et al. 1993), in which STS
abnormalities are highly implicated (Zilbovicius et al. 2006).
Bilateral temporal poles with greater effect on the left side
have also been consistently recruited during ToM task (Calarge
et al. 2003; Frith U and Frith CD 2003; Gallagher and Frith 2003).
Although the left temporal pole contributes to the composition
of sentence meaning (Vandenberghe et al. 2002), the temporal
pole activation in P–N condition cannot simply be attributed to
the use of sentences because neutral stimuli also require
sentence comprehension. The temporal poles are generally
engaged in retrieving episodic memories such as emotional and
autobiographical memory (Fink et al. 1996; Dolan et al. 2000;
Sugiura et al. 2006). In ToM task, the retrieval of episodic
memories enables us to understand and simulate the mental
state of others (Gallagher and Frith 2003). This role of memory
process in understanding others’ mental state might result in
activation in the temporal pole in the P–N condition. Addition-
ally, a recent study has suggested that this region is involved in
storage and recall of contextual information (Mobbs et al. 2006).
Because the subjects might not have direct experience of all the
pride scenarios, the activation in the temporal pole may suggest
that the subjects were reminded of contextual information of
themselves or others (e.g., famous person) associated with pride
scenarios (Mobbs et al. 2006; Sugiura et al. 2006).
The MPFC appears to be responsible for ToM reasoning or
mentalizing, the ability to represent others’ perspective (Frith U
and Frith CD 2003; Gallagher and Frith 2003; Amodio and Frith
2006). This ability allows us to infer the cause of others’
behavior, attribution. Previous studies have shown activation
in the MPFC during judgments made on the basis of attributional
information (Amodio and Frith 2006), and it is suggested that
the MPFC is activated when cues that have been processed in an
early stage of social cognition are used in a particular way, that
is, to infer the intention (Gallagher and Frith 2003; Ochsner
2004) and emotional state (Aichhorn et al. 2006) of others. The
lack of activation in the MPFC might stem from pride scenarios
such as used in the present study. Most pride scenarios
described situations in which the protagonist was a winner of
a prize or competition as a result of achievement. Winning
a prize or competition, by definition, is a symbol that inevitably
indicates others’ positive evaluations or judgments for one’s
own achievement. Therefore, in order to detect how one is
evaluated by others in these situations, one might have less
necessity to ‘‘infer’’ the mental state of others by using cues that
have been processed in the early stage of social cognition.
Another explanation for the lack of significant activation in the
MPFC during judgments of pride might be possible. The
argument regarding the role of the MPFC in ToM is mainly
based on classical, explicit ToM tasks that usually used false
belief stories (Frith U and Frith CD 2003; Gallagher and Frith
2003), whereas our task was an implicit ToM task in which the
subjects were not explicitly instructed to represent the mental
state of others, and the pSTS rather than MPFC plays a more
Figure 2. Correlation between brain activation and the self-ratings of pride and joy,
with height threshold (P \ 0.001) and extent threshold (5 voxels). (A) There was
positive linear correlations between self-rating of pride and the degree of activation in
the pSTS. (B) There was positive linear correlations between self-rating of joy and the
degree of activation in the ventral striatum. The bar shows the range of the t-score.
Within the image, L indicates left. Numbers in the bottom low indicate the
z-coordinates of the Montreal Neurological Institute brain.
Figure 3. Plots and regression lines of correlations between self-ratings and the
degree of activation in the brain regions. (A) Positive correlations (r 5 0.81, df 5 14,
P\0.001) between self-rating of pride and the degree of activation in the pSTS. (B)
Positive linear correlations (r 5 0.86, df 5 14, P\0.001) between self-rating of joy
and the degree of activation in the ventral striatum.
Cerebral Cortex April 2008, V 18 N 4 901
by guest on June 8, 2013
central role (Saxe and Kanwisher 2003). Abody of psychological
studies has demonstrated that people have self-positivity biases,
tendencies to have a positive attitude toward self. People tend
to accept responsibility for desired outcomes but to attribute
negative events to external causes (Greenwald and Banaji 1995;
Leary 2007). Self-positivity biases are known to operate implic-
itly and automatically without conscious reflection (Greenwald
and Banaji 1995; Leary 2007). The MPFC is a key node of aneural
system subserving explicit reflection of self (Johnson et al.
2002). Therefore, the subjects might have judged some scenar-
ios as pride ones without elaborate self-reflection.
This study has some limitations. First, as mentioned above,
a complex self-conscious emotion could be accompanied by
basic emotion. Although we understand that it is not feasible to
assess a ‘‘pure’’ form of emotion, the results of regression
analysis tell us that brain activations during pride condition
could not simply be accounted for by the accompanying
emotion. Second, self-conscious emotions depend on society
and culture (Haidt 2003). The social background of participants,
such as generation, religion, and education, could be confound-
ing factors. For example, there are some empirical studies to
support the traditional view that Japanese culture is collectiv-
istic, putting a premium on social harmony, whereas Northern
American culture is individualistic, highlighting personal
achievement (Kitayama et al. 2006). At the same time, in-
dividualism is increasing in contemporary Japanese society
especially among the young generation (Cusick 2007). There-
fore, examining the effect of generations on self-conscious
emotions would be an interesting future theme, and any
generalization of our findings needs to be approached with
caution. Finally, self-conscious emotions are more difficult to
elicit in an MRI environment than basic emotions (Tracy and
Robins 2004a). For this reason, we used an emotion judgment
task, not an emotion induction task. To complement fMRI
studies, lesion studies that can assess real-life human social
behavior are recommended.
In conclusion, we investigated the neural substrates of judg-
ments of a positive self-conscious emotion and demonstrated
a difference from those of a basic positive emotion at a neural
basis level. Supporting the concept that pride could be regarded
as a member of the self-conscious emotions family, judgments of
pride produced activation in the components of neural sub-
strates implicated in social cognition or ToM. At the same time,
judgment of pride might require less self-reflection compared
with those of negative self-conscious emotions such as guilt or
embarrassment. We expect our findings regarding joy and pride
to have broad implications for the neural basis of some neuro-
psychiatric disorders such as depression or schizophrenia char-
acterized by anhedonia and narcissistic personality or affective
disorder, characterized by inappropriate pride, respectively.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
(MEXT), Japanese Government; the MEXT (15390438); the
Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Health (Labor
Sciences Research Grant H15-KOKORO-003).
Conflict of Interest: None declared.
Address correspondence to Hidehiko Takahashi, MD, PhD, Molecular
Imaging Center, Department of Molecular Neuroimaging, National
Institute of Radiological Sciences, 9-1, 4-chome, Anagawa, Inage-ku,
Chiba, Japan 263-8555. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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