The desire to be recognized is the key driver for logical judgement and decision making.
Experimental results show that if a person is negatively assessed, he or she is stimulated by a strong need for self-defense.
The paper by Professor Hackjin Kim and doctoral student Leehyun Yoon, published in the international journal Nature Communications.
▲ Professor Hackjin Kim (corresponding author) and doctoral student Leehyun Yoon (first author)
The study results showed that being targeted with negative feedback by others provokes a strong self-defense desire.
The research team of Professor Hackjin Kim (corresponding author) of the Department of Psychology of the Korea University College of Liberal Arts, doctoral student Leehyun Yoon (first author), and Professor Leah H. Somerville (co-author) of Harvard University derived these results through experiments, and the paper was published in the August 6th online edition of the international journal Nature Communications.
The team discovered that in order to prevent the decline of self-esteem when a negative evaluation is received from others, the desire for self-defense may be expressed as aggressive behavior, and when these behaviors conflict with social norms, self-defensive desires are expressed in various and complicated manners. Through this study, the team tried to identify the neurological mechanisms behind this desire to defend oneself from negative evaluation from others and its effects on their social behavior.
The experiment required participants from various ages from 10 to 25 years to make their own creative work, and two weeks later the participants performed a task of mutual evaluation of their work with other partners in an MRI machine.
In this procedure, the degree of self-defense needs was measured by the extent to which the negative evaluation of his/her work led to a negative evaluation of the partner's work.
As a result of the experiment, adolescents in early adolescence showed a tendency to respond to negative evaluation of their work with an immediate negative evaluation.
On the other hand, while the tendency to immediately provide negative evaluations decreased as age increased toward adulthood, the tendency to evaluate the current partner's work based on the accumulation of negative evaluations received from previous partners increased.
Measuring brain responses through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that sophisticated and complex self-defensive behavior based on the accumulation of these negative assessments depended on the functional development of the rostromedial prefrontal cortex.
In explaining the significance of this study, Professor Kim said, "The results show that the desire to defend oneself from the negative evaluation of others is manifested in a complicated and sophisticated manner through the developmental process within the constraints of social norms, and the importance of the functional development of the rostromedial prefrontal cortex is shown during this process. Furthermore, the desire to be acknowledged by others, although only differing in level of sophistication, can be considered as the key driver of logical judgement and decision-making in people of almost all ages”.