Some people have a more positive self-image than others. Researchers love playing around with brain scanners and scientists at the University of Texas studied 20 people as they were asked about how they compared to their peers in tact, modesty, likeability, maturity, materialism, messiness, unreliability and narrow-mindedness. Those participants who had a more positive view of themselves than others used their orbitofrontal cortex less than the other subjects. This is a region of the brain generally associated with reasoning, planning, decision-making and problem-solving. People with a more negative view of themselves showed four times more activity in this area than those with the rosiest view of themselves. In a separate, though related, study people who were given more time to think about their answers rated themselves more harshly than those who were asked for a snap judgment. Taken together the studies suggest that the more we think about ourselves the less we like what we find.
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