Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Social Feedback and Emotion Regulation in Borderline Personality Disorder: An fMRI study

What is the role of emotion regulation in coping with interpersonal feedback?


The Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition
Rivierduinen GGZ Duin en Bollenstreek

Oversensitivity to social signals of potential rejection, fragile self-esteem, and durable preoccupations about the negative self-images are the clinical characteristics of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Yet, few studies have been conducted to clarify the potential socio-cognitive mechanisms and neural underpinnings associated with this ‘fragile self’. The goal of this study is to examine two mechanisms which may contribute to the dysregulation of state self-esteem provoked by interpersonal acceptance/rejection in borderline pathology. Our first hypothesis is that the feelings and perception of oneself in individuals with BPD may be more vulnerable to social feedback. This may be related to an enhanced self-referential processing during negative social feedback. Second, we hypothesize that, once the negative self-referential thought is activated, individuals with BPD may have difficulties to deliberately regulate these negative thoughts by shifting to mood-incongruent cognitions, such as engaging into positive self-imaginations.

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