Does medial prefrontal cortex activity during self-knowledge reference reflect the uniqueness of self-knowledge?1

Authors


  • 1

     This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (B14310042).

  • 2

     Nakao and Miyatani (2007) suggest that participants might infer their own emotional state based on self-knowledge during self-monitoring because they do not always have a clear understanding of their emotional state. Specifically in Experiment 1, it is likely that an emotional response was not strongly elicited during self-monitoring because neutral word stimuli were used.

* Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to: Takashi Nakao, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan. (E-mail: takana818@lit.nagoya-u.ac.jp)

Abstract

Abstract:  For this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to examine whether medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) activity during self-knowledge reference reflects the uniqueness of self-knowledge. Experiment 1 investigated neural activity during self-knowledge reference (“Does the word describe you?”) and self-monitoring (“Does the word make you feel pleasant?”). The results showed that self-knowledge reference and self-monitoring activate common neural substrates within the MPFC. Experiment 2 compared neural activity produced by self-knowledge reference, other-knowledge (acquaintance-knowledge) reference (“Does this word describe the person?”), and evaluation (“Is this word socially desirable?”). Results showed no increase in MPFC activity during self-knowledge reference relative to other-knowledge reference. Furthermore, self-knowledge reference and other-knowledge reference share common neural substrates within the MPFC. The results described indicate that it is unlikely that MPFC activity during self-knowledge reference reflects the uniqueness of self-knowledge. The feature, as reflected in MPFC activity, is discussed.

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