July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Rapid self-tagging to sensory stimuli: Functional and neural effects
Author Affiliations
  • Jie Sui
    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford\nDepartment of Psychology, Tsinghua University
  • Glyn Humphreys
    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 897. doi:10.1167/13.9.897
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      Jie Sui, Glyn Humphreys; Rapid self-tagging to sensory stimuli: Functional and neural effects. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):897. doi: 10.1167/13.9.897.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

The assignment of personal social significance to a stimulus is a basic human capacity that is currently poorly understood. Here we present evidence showing a robust self-prioritization for this assignment process using a self conditioning procedure in which we ‘tag’ a neutral shape with self-relevance. Participants were instructed to associate three neutral geometric shapes (circle, square, and triangle) with three people, one with themselves, one with one of their best friends, and one with an unfamiliar other. After the instruction, they had to judge whether subsequent label–shape pairings were matched. Across a series of experiments participants showed a benefit for establishing self conditioning relative to conditioning related to other people, on both response times and perceptual sensitivity. fMRI data revealed that rapid self-tagging responses were associated with enhanced activity over brain regions linked to self representation (the ventro-medial pre-frontal cortex, vmPFC) and to sensory-driven attentional control that is associated with processing social information (the left posterior superior temporal sulcus, LpSTS). In contrast, associations formed to other people recruited a dorsal fronto-parietal control network. Effective connectivity analyses showed that the vmPFC and the LpSTS were functionally coupled and that stronger projections from the vmPFC to the LpSTS for self-related stimuli predicted greater behavioral biases to the self. Self-conditioning to sensory stimuli produces a rapid neural change by coupling self-representations to brain regions modulating sensory-driven attentional control.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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