Self-compassion and responses to negative social feedback: The role of fronto-amygdala circuit connectivity
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Self-compassion has been shown to have significant relationships with psychological health and well-being. Despite the increasing growth of research on the topic, no studies to date have investigated how self-compassion relates to neural responses to threats to the self. To investigate whether self-compassion relates to threat-regulatory mechanisms at the neural level of analysis, we conducted a functional MRI study in a sample of college-aged students. We hypothesized that self-compassion would relate to greater negative connectivity between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) and amygdala during a social feedback task. Interestingly, we found a negative correlation between self-compassion and VMPFC-amygdala functional connectivity as predicted; however, this seemed to be due to low levels of self-compassion relating to greater positive connectivity in this circuit (rather than high levels of self-compassion relating to more negative connectivity). We also found significant relationships with multiple subcomponents of self-compassion (Common Humanity, Self-Judgment). These results shed light on how self-compassion might affect neural responses to threat and informs our understanding of the basic psychological regulatory mechanisms linking a lack of self-compassion with poor mental health.
Parrish, MH; Inagaki, TK; Muscatell, KA; Haltom, KEB; Leary, MR; Eisenberger, NI
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