Great news! Laura Müller-Pinzler has received the 2021 Best Paper Award at the NeuroPsychoEconomics conference in Amsterdam for the presentation of her latest project in the symposium “Social Neuroeconomics” (Chair: Jan Engelmann).
Biases in self-related belief formation and their association with self-conscious affect
During everyday interactions people constantly receive feedback on their behavior, which shapes
the beliefs they form about themselves. However, this is not a passive process during which
information is picked up in an objective manner, rather the idea prevails that belief formation is
essentially biased and shaped by affective and motivational states. In order to assess the impact of
self-related affective states during the formation of self-related ability beliefs in a performance
context we modeled prediction error updates of performance expectations in response to
manipulated feedback during a cognitive estimation task. We show that updating of self-related
ability beliefs was biased towards negative information and this bias was associated with the
individual experience of self-conscious emotions (embarrassment and pride) during the task.
Further, the results suggest that individuals who update more negatively and experience more
intense embarrassment and less pride might process negative information more intensely than
positive information as indicated by increased pupil dilation and neural activation within the anterior
insula, amygdala, VTA and mPFC. Our results shed light onto a potential mechanism of how affective
states might shape attention towards and processing of specific information therefore biasing the
beliefs people form about themselves.