The Science of Self-Affirmation

January 14, 2022

The science says, “Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation.” This human mental capability is applied in hyper-learning by affirming a new state of being, reinforced by repetition and thought leader collaboration.

Self-affirmation theory posits that people are motivated to maintain a positive self-view and that threats to perceived self-competence are met with resistance. When threatened, self-affirmations can restore self-competence by allowing individuals to reflect on sources of self-worth, such as core values. Many questions exist, however, about the underlying mechanisms associated with self-affirmation. We examined the neural mechanisms of self-affirmation with a task developed for use in a functional magnetic resonance imaging environment. Results of a region of interest analysis demonstrated that participants who were affirmed (compared with unaffirmed participants) showed increased activity in key regions of the brain’s self-processing (medial prefrontal cortex + posterior cingulate cortex) and valuation (ventral striatum + ventral medial prefrontal cortex) systems when reflecting on future-oriented core values (compared with everyday activities). Furthermore, this neural activity went on to predict changes in sedentary behavior consistent with successful affirmation in response to a separate physical activity intervention. These results highlight neural processes associated with successful self-affirmation, and further suggest that key pathways may be amplified in conjunction with prospection.

 Read the full white paper.

Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart. 

 

 



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