Self-compassion and responses to negative social feedback: The role of fronto-amygdala circuit connectivity


Journal Article

© 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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Parrish, MH; Inagaki, TK; Muscatell, KA; Haltom, KEB; Leary, MR; Eisenberger, NI

Published Date

  • November 2, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 723 - 738

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-8876

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1529-8868

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15298868.2018.1490344

Citation Source

  • Scopus