Self-handicaps are obstacles created (or claimed) by individuals in anticipation of failure. Despite the vast amount of psychological research on self-handicapping tendency, the neural mechanisms underlying individual differences in self-handicapping tendency in young and healthy subjects are unknown. We used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and a questionnaire to measure individual self-handicapping tendency, and we investigated the association between regional gray matter volume (rGMV) and self-handicapping tendency across the brain in healthy young adult (mean age, 21.3 years; standard deviation - SD = 1.9) men (. n = 94) and women (. n = 91). We discovered that higher individual self-handicapping tendency was associated with larger rGMV in the subgenual cingulate gyrus (sgCG). A wide range of previous studies showed (a) the opposite pattern is seen in the association between rGMV in the sgCG and depression and (b) this area is active when negative emotions are suppressed. The present results suggest that the sgCG is also involved in self-handicapping, which is a behavior thought to be engaged in the protection of self-esteem.
- Regional gray matter volume
- Subgenual cingulate gyrus
- Voxel-based morphometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience