We all know that poor self-esteem leaves people feeling sad and depressed. Now, a new study indicates that it also has the power to alter brain function.
Recording the Brain
A study out of Dartmouth suggests that having low self-esteem can actually change the way our brains react to social feedback. Appearing in the Oxford Journal Cerebral Cortex, the research demonstrated that people who suffer from poor self-esteem tend to be more cognizant and more sensitive to social cues. To reach their findings, the researchers recruited 50 subjects and used a magnetic resonance imaging scanner to monitor their brains, while each one viewed 400 photographs of various men and women. As the MRI machine recorded brain activity, the subjects were asked whether they would expect the person in the photograph to like them. At the conclusion of the test, each participant was asked to complete a written evaluation aimed at assessing self-esteem.
Ultimately, researchers determined that subjects with low self-esteem were more likely to predict that the people in the pictures would dislike them. They also exhibited more activity in two specific brain regions: the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC).
It’s a Tough World
While some people owe their low self-esteem to cognitive issues that make them sensitive to embarrassment; others can blame actual physical flaws which directly affect how others treat them. For some, obesity may result in social stigmas; for others, unattractive dental flaws can elicit negative social feedback.
Make that Change
In a perfect world, everyone would accept one another regardless of physical appearance. In the real world, that just isn’t the case. If crooked, yellow or gapped teeth are holding you back socially or professionally. Dr. Siegel can help.