Abstract Self-affirmation reduces defensive responding to self-threats. The present study extended beyond self-threats to assess affirmation’s influence on responses to negative emotional pictures as measured by the late positive potential (LPP), an event-related potential in the encephalogram that reflects motivational significance. Participants completed a trait measure of behavioral inhibition system (BIS) sensitivity. Then they affirmed (or did not affirm) a core personal value before viewing a series of emotionally evocative pictures. Affirming a core value increased LPP responses to negative emotional pictures among individuals higher in BIS. Self-affirmation thus appeared to alter the motivational significance of negative pictures among threat-prone individuals, consistent with a reduction in the defensive avoidance of aversive stimuli. These findings suggest that affirming values may influence responses associated with basic (non-self) motivational systems among individuals sensitive to threat. Self-affirmation, late positive potential, behavioral inhibition system © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact email@example.com
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 5, 2018
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