Individual Differences in Self- and Value-Based Reward Processing

Jie Sui* (Corresponding Author), Bo Cao, Yipeng Song, Andrew Greenshaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self- and value-based reward processing were investigated from an individual difference perspective. Participants learnt to associate geometric shapes with three identities (self, friend, stranger) on one occasion and three values (e.g., high, medium, low monetary value) on another occasion. Participants then carried out a perceptual matching task of judging whether shape-label pairings matched (e.g., triangle-self or circle-£16). This personal matching task was followed by a self-report measure concerning personal distance from others. Both self-identification and high value-associations led to better task performance (faster responses with higher perceptual sensitivity) in the matching tasks. Correlations between self- and high value-based reward biases varied as a function of participant ratings of personal distance between themselves and others. For individuals who rated with a large personal distance, there were no correlations between the self- and reward-biases. In contrast, self- and reward-biases did correlate for individuals who rated a close personal distance between themselves and others. These conclusions were supported by cluster analyses, which showed either distinct or common similarity structures for matching, based on personal and value relevance, corresponding to individuals’ self-rating of a large or close distance to others. The data suggest an intertwining model of self-value at the individual level. This model has significant implications for understanding emotion regulation in relation to self and reward interactions and may be relevant for advancing our understanding self in relation to normal and psychopathological processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100095
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Research in Behavioral Science
Early online date24 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Self
  • Reward
  • Personal distance
  • Perceptual matching
  • Individual differences


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