Advertisement

Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 1, pp 247–256 | Cite as

Searching for the inner self: evidence against a direct dependence of the self-prioritization effect on the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex

  • Sarah SchäferEmail author
  • Christian Frings
Research Article
  • 48 Downloads

Abstract

The processing of self-referential material is supposed to be located in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and in particular in the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC). A reliable method to assess effects of self-relevance is the so-called matching paradigm in which the prioritization of newly learned self-associations in comparison to non-self-relevant associations can be measured. To assess the connection of activation in the VMPFC and self-referential processing, we measured the self-prioritization effect (SPE) before and after experimentally manipulating activation in the VMPFC. We applied either excitatory or inhibitory stimulation to the VMPFC via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). In a sample of N = 65 healthy adults, we found a significant SPE before and after both types of stimulation and, remarkably, no systematic change of the SPE due to the stimulation. These results are evidential against a direct dependence of the SPE from activation in the VMPFC, indicating either that the SPE differs from other, more elaborate self-effects, and thereby is processed in different brain areas, or that the connection of SPE and VMPFC is correlational rather than causal.

Keywords

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) Self Attention Self-prioritization 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Ambrus GG, Paulus W, Antal A (2010) Cutaneous perception thresholds of electrical stimulation methods: comparison of tDCS and tRNS. Clin Neurophysiol 121:1908–1914.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2010.04.020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chatrian G-E, Lettich E, Nelson PL (1988) Modified nomenclature for the “10%”electrode system. J Clin Neurophysiol 5:183–186.  https://doi.org/10.1097/00004691-198804000-00005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd ed. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  4. Cunningham SJ, Turk DJ, Macdonald LM, Macrae CN (2008) Yours or mine? Ownership and memory. Conscious Cogn 17:312–318.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2007.04.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Denny BT, Kober H, Wagner TD, Ochsner KN (2012) A meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies of self- and other judgments reveals a spatial gradient for mentalizing in medial prefrontal cortex. J Cogn Neurosci 24:1742–1752.  https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00233 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Faul F, Erdfelder E, Lang A, Buchner A (2007) GPower 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral and biomedical sciences. Behav Res Methods 39:175–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Friehs MA, Frings C (2018) Pimping inhibition: anodal tDCS enhances stop-signal reaction time. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform.  https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000579 Google Scholar
  8. Frings C, Wentura D (2014) Self-prioritization processes in action and perception. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 40:1737–1740.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037376 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Frings C, Brinkmann T, Friehs MA, van Lipzig T (2018) Single session tDCS over the left DLPFC disrupts interference processing. Brain Cogn 120:1–7.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2017.11.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fuentes LJ, Sui J, Estévez AF, Humphreys GW (2015) The differential outcomes procedure can overcome self-bias in perceptual matching. Psychon Bull Rev 23:451–458.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-015-0895-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gusnard DA, Akbudak E, Shulman GL, Raichle ME (2001) Medial prefrontal cortex and self-referential mental activity: relation to a default mode of brain function. Proc Nat Acad Sci 98:4259–4264.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.071043098 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hautus MJ (1995) Corrections for extreme proportions and their biasing effects on estimated values of d’. Behav Res Methods Instrum Comput 27:46–51.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03203619 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Humphreys GW, Sui J (2016) Attentional control and the self: the self-attention network (SAN). Cogn Neurosci 7:5–17.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17588928.2015.1044427 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Janczyk M, Humphreys GW, Sui J (2018) The central locus of self-prioritization. Q J Exp Psychol.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1747021818778970 Google Scholar
  15. Jeffreys H (1961) Theory of probability. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  16. Jenkins AC, Mitchell JP (2011) Medial prefrontal cortex subserves diverse forms of self-reflection. Soc Neurosci 3:211–218.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2010.507948 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jeon SY, Han SJ (2012) Improvement of the working memory and naming by transcranial direct current stimulation. Ann Rehabil Med 36:585–595.  https://doi.org/10.5535/arm.2012.36.5.585 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lieberman MD (2007) Social cognitive neuroscience: a review of core processes. Ann Rev Psychol 58:259–289.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085654 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Love J, Selker R, Marsman M, Jamil T, Dropmann D, Verhagen AJ, Morey RD (2015) JASP (Version 0.7) [computer software]. AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  20. Macrae CN, Moran JM, Heatherton TF, Banfield JF, Kelley MW (2004) Medial prefrontal activity predicts memory for self. Cereb Cortex 14:647–654.  https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhh025 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Macrae CN, Visokomogilski A, Golubickis M, Cunningham WA, Sahraie A (2017) Self-relevance prioritizes access to visual awareness. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 43:438–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Miranda PC, Lomarev M, Hallett M (2006) Modeling the current distribution during transcranial direct current stimulation. Clin Neurophysiol 117:1623–1629.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2006.04.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moray N (1959) Attention in dichotic listening: Affective cues and the influence of instructions. Q J Exp Psychol 11:56–60.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470215908416289 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nitsche MA, Cohen LG, Wassermann EM, Priori A, Lang N, Antal A, Pascual-Leone A (2008) Transcranial direct current stimulation: state of the art 2008. Brain Stimul: Basic Transl Clin Res Neuromodulation 3:206–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. O’Brien R, Kaiser MK (1985) MANOVA method for analyzing repeated measures designs: an extensive primer. Psychol Bull 97:316–333.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.97.2.316 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rogers TB, Kuiper NA, Kirker WS (1977) Self-reference and the encoding of personal information. J Pers Soc Psychol 35:677–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Roy LB, Sparing R, Fink GR, Hesse MD (2015) Modulation of attention functions by anodal tDCS on right PPC. Neuropsychologia 74:96–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schäfer S, Frings C, Wentura D (2016a) About the composition of self-relevance: conjunctions not features are bound to the self. Psychon Bull Rev 23:887–892.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-015-0953-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schäfer S, Wesslein A-K, Spence C, Wentura D, Frings C (2016b) Self-prioritization in vision, audition, and touch. Exp Brain Res 234:2141–2150.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-016-4616-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schäfer S, Wentura D, Frings C (2017) Distinctiveness effects in self-prioritization. Vis Cogn 25:399–411.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13506285.2017.1346739 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shapiro KL, Caldwell J, Sorensen RE (1997) Personal names and the attentional blink: a visual “cocktail party” effect. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 23:504–514.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.23.2.504 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stagg CJ, Nitsche MA (2011) Physiological basis of transcranial direct current stimulation. The Neuroscientist 17:37–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stanislaw H, Todorov N (1999) Calculation of signal detection theory measures. Behav Res Methods Instrum Comput 31:137–149.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03207704 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stein T, Siebold A, van Zoest W (2016) Testing the idea of privileged awareness of self-relevant information. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 42:303–307.  https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp000019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stroop JR (1935) Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. J Exp Psychol 18:643–662.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0054651 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sui J, He X, Humphreys GW (2012) Perceptual effects of social salience: evidence from self-prioritization effects on perceptual matching. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 38:1105–1117.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029792 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sui J, Rotshtein P, Humphreys GW (2013) Coupling social attention to the self forms a network for personal significance. Proc Nat Acad Sci 19:7607–7612.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1221862110 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sui J, Enock F, Ralph J, Humphreys GW (2015) Dissociating hyper and hypoself biases to a core self-representation. Cortex 70:202–212.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2015.04.024 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tukey JW (1977) Exploratory data analysis. Addison-Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  40. Wagenmakers E–J, Wetzels R, Borsboom D, van der Maas HL (2011) Why psychologists must change the way they analyze their data: the case of psi: Comment on Bem (2011). J Pers Soc Psychol 100:426–432.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022790 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wagner DD, Haxby JV, Heatherton TF (2012) The representation of self and person knowledge in the medial prefrontal cortex. Wiley Interdicip Rev Cogn Sci 3:451–470.  https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.1183 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive Psychology and StatisticsUniversity of TrierTrierGermany

Personalised recommendations