Roles of medial prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex in self-evaluation
AuthorBeer, Jennifer S.
Lombardo, Michael V.
Bhanji, J. P.
SourceJournal of cognitive neuroscience
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Empirical investigations of the relation of frontal lobe function to self-evaluation have mostly examined the evaluation of abstract qualities in relation to self versus other people. The present research furthers our understanding of frontal lobe involvement in self-evaluation by examining two processes that have not been widely studied by neuroscientists: on-line self-evaluations and correction of systematic judgment errors that influence self-evaluation. Although people evaluate their abstract qualities, it is equally important that perform on-line evaluations to assess the success of their behavior in a particular situation. In addition, self-evaluations of task performance are sometimes overconfident because of systematic judgment errors. What role do the neural regions associated with abstract self-evaluations and decision bias play in on-line evaluation and self-evaluation bias? In this fMRI study, self-evaluation in two reasoning tasks was examined; one elicited overconfident self-evaluations of performance because of salient but misleading aspects of the task and the other was free from misleading aspects. Medial PFC (mPFC), a region associated with self-referential processing, was generally involved in on-line self-evaluations but not specific to accurate or overconfident evaluation. Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) activity, a region associated with accurate nonsocial judgment, negatively predicted individual differences in overconfidence and was negatively associated with confidence level for incorrect trials. © 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.