Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Julian K. Keenan

Committee Member

Paul Amrhein

Committee Member

Cigdem Talgar


Self-enhancement consists of an overly positive self-perception that takes on two, somewhat independent, forms: social comparison and self-insight. Social comparison self-enhancement consists of a person having an overly positive view of themselves compared to how they view others. Self-insight self-enhancement consists of an overly positive view of the self compared to how the person is viewed by others. Social comparison self-enhancement appears to be adaptive while self-insight self-enhancement appears to be maladaptive. Due to the adaptive and maladaptive implications, selfenhancement is of considerable importance to the mental health of people all around the world. A better understanding of the neurological correlates of self-enhancement may lead to more effective treatments for maladjusted individuals.

The purpose of the current study was to discover which areas of the brain are necessary for self-enhancement. Both types of self-enhancement were included to provide a clearer picture of the different ways in which brain areas may affect selfenhancement. Neurological correlates of self-enhancement were studied using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in a virtual lesion technique. Groups of 4 participants were acquainted and then rated each other and themselves on positive and negative attributes while TMS was delivered to the anterior and posterior portions of the anterior cingulate, midline parietal cortex, and under a sham condition.

Results did not show significant differences among the brain areas or types of self-enhancement. Participants in the experiment did not show self-enhancement. Possible explanations are discussed.

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Psychology Commons