Tracking the implicit self using event-related potentials

Egenolf, Yvonne; Stein, Maria; Koenig, Thomas; grosse Holtforth, Martin; Dierks, Thomas; Caspar, Franz (2013). Tracking the implicit self using event-related potentials. Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience, 13(4), pp. 885-899. Austin, Tex.: Springer 10.3758/s13415-013-0169-3

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Negative biases in implicit self-evaluation are thought to be detrimental to subjective well-being and have been linked to various psychological disorders, including depression. An understanding of the neural processes underlying implicit self-evaluation in healthy subjects could provide a basis for the investigation of negative biases in depressed patients, the development of differential psychotherapeutic interventions, and the estimation of relapse risk in remitted patients. We thus studied the brain processes linked to implicit self-evaluation in 25 healthy subjects using event-related potential (ERP) recording during a self-relevant Implicit Association Test (sIAT). Consistent with a positive implicit self-evaluation in healthy subjects, they responded significantly faster to the congruent (self-positive mapping) than to the incongruent sIAT condition (self-negative mapping). Our main finding was a topographical ERP difference in a time window between 600 and 700 ms, whereas no significant differences between congruent and incongruent conditions were observed in earlier time windows. This suggests that biases in implicit self-evaluation are reflected only indirectly, in the additional recruitment of control processes needed to override the positive implicit self-evaluation of healthy subjects in the incongruent sIAT condition. Brain activations linked to these control processes can thus serve as an indirect measure for estimating biases in implicit self-evaluation. The sIAT paradigm, combined with ERP, could therefore permit the tracking of the neural processes underlying implicit self-evaluation in depressed patients during psychotherapy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Psychiatric Neurophysiology [discontinued]
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Egenolf, Yvonne, Stein, Maria, König, Thomas, Grosse Holtforth, Martin, Dierks, Thomas, Caspar, Franz


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:39

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:21

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:




URI: (FactScience: 223248)

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