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Neural and self-report markers of reassurance: A generalized additive modelling approach
journal contributionposted on 2021-09-20, 03:41 authored by Jeffrey J Kim, Trent Henderson, Talitha BestTalitha Best, Ross Cunnington, James N Kirby
Research has shown that engaging in self-reassurance, a compassionately motivated cognitive relating style, can down-regulate neural markers of threat and pain. Whilst important, the relationship between neural and self-report markers of reassurance are largely unknown. Here we analyzed previously published fMRI data which measured neural responses when participants engaged in self-reassurance toward a mistake, setback, or failure. Within the present paper, we identified correlations between regions of interest extracted during self-reassurance with fMRI and self-report data. Using generalized additive modelling, we show that participants with greater inadequate forms of self-criticism exhibited greater neural activation within the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and anterior insula (AI). Furthermore, a relationship between greater fears of expressing compassion to the self and neural activation within the MPFC returned non-significant after correction for multiple comparisons. No significant relationships were observed between brain activation and hated and reassuring forms of self-criticism. Our results identify preliminary evidence for neural activity during self-reassurance as correlated with self-report markers, and we outline a method for modelling neural and self-report data which can be applied to future studies in compassion science, particularly with a clinical sample.