Basic psychological needs and neurophysiological responsiveness to decisional conflict: An event-related potential study of integrative self processes

Journal article


Di Domenico, Stefano I., Le, Ada, Liu, Yichuan, Ayaz, Hasan and Fournier, Marc A.. (2016) Basic psychological needs and neurophysiological responsiveness to decisional conflict: An event-related potential study of integrative self processes. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience. 16(5), pp. 848 - 865. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-016-0436-1
AuthorsDi Domenico, Stefano I., Le, Ada, Liu, Yichuan, Ayaz, Hasan and Fournier, Marc A.
Abstract

Fulfillment of the basic psychological needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy is believed to facilitate people’s integrative tendencies to process psychological conflicts and develop a coherent sense of self. The present study therefore used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine the relation between need fulfillment and the amplitude of conflict negativity (CN), a neurophysiological measure of conflict during personal decision making. Participants completed a decision-making task in which they made a series of forced choices according to their personal preferences. Three types of decision-making situations were created on the basis of participants’ unique preference ratings, which were obtained prior to ERP recording: low-conflict situations (choosing between an attractive and an unattractive option), high-conflict approach-approach situations (choosing between two similarly attractive options), and high-conflict avoidance-avoidance situations (choosing between two similarly unattractive options). As expected, CN amplitudes were larger in high- relative to low-conflict situations, and source localization analyses suggested that the anterior cingulate cortex was the generating structure of the CN. Most importantly, people reporting higher need fulfillment exhibited larger CN amplitudes in avoidance–avoidance situations relative to low-conflict situations; to a lesser extent, they also exhibited larger CN amplitudes in approach–approach situations relative to low-conflict situations. By contrast, people reporting lower need fulfillment exhibited CN amplitudes that poorly discriminated the three decision situations. These results suggest that need fulfillment may promote self-coherent functioning by increasing people’s receptivity to and processing of events that challenge their abilities to make efficient, self-congruent choices.

Keywordsbasic psychological needs; conflict negativity; conflict monitoring; decision making; psychological conflict; self-determination theory
Year2016
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Journal citation16 (5), pp. 848 - 865
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
ISSN1530-7026
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-016-0436-1
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84969849792
Page range848 - 865
Research GroupInstitute for Positive Psychology and Education
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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