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Understanding Self-Compassion: A Social Neuroscience Approach

  • Author(s): Parrish, Michael
  • Advisor(s): Eisenberger, Naomi I
  • et al.

Self-compassion, being kind, understanding, and mindful toward the self, is an effective regulatory strategy which is protective against threats to emotion well-being and physical health. Despite rapidly growing research interest on the topic within the social, behavioral, and health sciences, very little is known about the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of self-compassion. Therefore, the goal of this dissertation research was to begin to fill in this critical gap in knowledge, leveraging the methods and approaches of social neuroscience. Across three functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, it was found that self-compassion and its subcomponents relate to: 1) the functioning of negative emotion regulation related circuitry in response to social evaluative feedback, 2) change in the functional integration of large-scale intrinsic networks implicated in cognitive control and self-referential processing, and 3) change in the functioning of mesocortical circuitry during reward-processing.

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