Happier people show greater neural connectivity during negative self-referential processing

Eun Joo Kim, Sunghyon Kyeong, Sang Woo Cho, Ji Won Chun, Hae Jeong Park, Jihye Kim, Joohan Kim, Raymond J. Dolan, Jae Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Life satisfaction is an essential component of subjective well-being and provides a fundamental resource for optimal everyday functioning. The goal of the present study was to examine how life satisfaction influences self-referential processing of emotionally valenced stimuli. Nineteen individuals with high life satisfaction (HLS) and 21 individuals with low life satisfaction (LLS) were scanned using functional MRI while performing a face-word relevance rating task, which consisted of 3 types of face stimuli (self, public other, and unfamiliar other) and 3 types of word stimuli (positive, negative, and neutral). We found a significant group x word valence interaction effect, most strikingly in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex. In the positive word condition dorsal medial prefrontal cortex activity was significantly higher in the LLS group, whereas in the negative word condition it was significantly higher in the HLS group. The two groups showed distinct functional connectivity of the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex with emotional processing-related regions. The findings suggest that, in response to emotional stimuli, individuals with HLS may successfully recruit emotion regulation- related regions in contrast to individuals with LLS. The difference in functional connectivity during self-referential processing may lead to an influence of life satisfaction on responses to emotion-eliciting stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0149554
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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