What promotes adaptive attitude and behavior change? In this talk, it will be proposed that self-transcendence, or the drive to care for the well-being of others beyond self-interests, is key to increasing receptivity to change. Psychological and neurocognitive mechanisms of self-transcendence that help make people more open to change in the domains of social attitudes and health behavior will be presented. In the social domain, shifting attention from the self to the well-being of others can help overcome deeply rooted self-focused biases that damage social bonds. In the health domain, interventions that allow people to think beyond themselves can help decrease self-focused defensiveness that gets in the way of accepting health advice and changing behavior. Across these domains, a set of neuroscience investigations relevant to self-transcendence helps develop mechanistic explanations about the nature of real-world social and health behavior change. Specifically, improvements in social and physical health may rely on dynamic integration of neural systems that support self-, other-, and reward-related cognitions within and between brains.

Yoona Kang, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

Convening Faculty, Grantee

Yoona Kang’s research investigates psychological and neural mechanisms that support the development and changes in social cognition, emotions, and health outcomes. Her main research interests are in 1) linking social … MORE