Evidence-Based and Intuition-Based Self-Knowledge: An fMRI Study

Matthew D. Lieberman, Johanna M. Jarcho, Ajay B. Satpute
2004 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  
Behavioral and neuropsychological studies have suggested multiple self-knowledge systems may exist (i.e., evidence-based and intuition-based self-knowledge); however, little is known about the nature of intuition-based self-knowledge. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, the neural correlates of intuition-based and evidence-based self-knowledge were investigated. Participants with high and low experience in different domains (soccer and acting) made self-descriptiveness judgments
more » ... out words from each domain while being scanned. High-experience domain judgments produced activation in a network of neural structures called the X-system, involved in automatic social cognition, whereas low-experience domain judgments produced activations in a network called the C-system, involved in effortful social cognition and propositional thought. The affective and slow-changing nature of intuitionbased self-knowledge is discussed. A world without memory is a world of the present. The past exists only in books, in documents. In order to know himself, each person carries his own Book of Life, which is filled with the history of his life . . . . Without his Book of Life, a person is a snapshot, a twodimensional image, a ghost. -Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams (1993, p. 82) Evidence-Based Self-Knowledge and the C-System It is an extraordinary achievement that humans are capable of answering an endless assortment of questions about themselves. Whereas other animals have traits, abilities, and preferences, only humans demonstrate knowledge of and beliefs about their attributes. No matter how sweet and cuddly a cat might be, there is
doi:10.1037/0022-3514.87.4.421 pmid:15491269 fatcat:ycutyvsplvbhbox2bmco5byurq