ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 788-798.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00788

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Self-esteem and brain: A social neuroscience approach

YANG Ziyan1,2; LUO Yu1; GU Ruolei1; LIU Yunzhi1,2; CAI Huajian1   

  1. (1 ICAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
  • Received:2016-08-11 Online:2017-05-15 Published:2017-05-15
  • Contact: CAI Huajian, E-mail:


Accumulating research has approached self-esteem from the perspective of social neuroscience. A review of relevant research indicates that: 1) self-esteem is related to brain physiologically with high self-esteem associating with larger hippocampus volume and regional gray matter volume of anterior cingulate cortex; 2) self-esteem is also related to the resting state of default mode network and functional connectivity among some specific brain areas; 3) self-esteem modulates brain activities to threats such that individuals with low self-esteem exhibit stronger neural responses to self-threatening stimuli; 4) self-esteem modulates brain activities during self-evaluation process. Overall, these findings shed light on the neural basis of self-esteem as well as its adaptive functions.

Key words: self-esteem, self-evaluation, threat, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)