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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews social neuroscience research on the maintenance of self-esteem. Self-esteem defense is considered from both intrapersonal (i.e., internal feelings of self-worth) and interpersonal (i.e., social acceptance) perspectives. It shows that intrapersonal self-esteem defense is associated with reduced orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) activation, whereas interpersonal self-esteem defense is associated with increased dACC and amygdala activation and reduced striatal activation. Future research is needed to better understand whether these are meaningful neural distinctions between intrapersonal and interpersonal self-defense or an artifact of the currently used paradigms in each line of inquiry. Developing neural research in this area will be helpful for understanding the psychological processes involved in self-esteem defense and how aging-related changes in neural function may impact self-esteem defense.

Keywords: social cognition, self, emotion, motivation, brain, orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, regulation, self-esteem

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