On Stopping Yourself: Self-Relevance Facilitates Response Inhibition

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Abstract

It is well documented that stimuli associated with the self are easier to process than identical material paired with other people (i.e., self-prioritization effect). Surprisingly, however, relatively little is known about how self-relevance impacts core aspects of executive functioning, notably response inhibition. Accordingly, here we used a stop-signal task to establish how effectively responses toward self-relevant (vs. other-relevant) stimuli can intentionally be inhibited. In the context of personalpossession, participants were required to classify stimuli (i.e., pens & pencils) based on ownership (i.e., owned-by-self vs. owned-by-friend/stranger), unless an occasional auditory tone indicated that the response should be withheld. The results revealed the benefits of self-relevance on response inhibition.Compared with items owned by a friend or stranger, responses to self-owned objects were inhibited more efficiently. These findings confirm that self-relevance facilitates executive control.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
Early online date4 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • self
  • response inhibition
  • ownership
  • executive control

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