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Neural predictors of synergy between self-affirmation and message tailoring


We propose self-affirmation as a theory driven intervention to improve self-efficacy for physical activity in sedentary, overweight adults. In particular, we hypothesize that self-affirmation manipulations that focus on a participant’s strengths, delivered prior to exposure to a targeted health communication, will reduce defensive processing of messages (e.g. counter arguing), increase self-efficacy to perform the target health behavior, and may lead to increased behavior change, compared to a non-affirmation control.


Aim 1a. To boost self-efficacy in response to health communications using tailored self-affirmations.

Aim 1b. Create researcher-generated affirmations that produce effects similar to self-generated affirmations.

Aim 2.
Examine the neurocognitive effects of self-affirmation on processing of subsequent health communications, and their relationship to behavior change.


Participants (n=45) are overweight adults (ages 18-64) whose BMI puts them at increased risk for chronic disease (BMI = 25+)

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