American Sociological Association

Research Notes: Persistent Identity Threats: Emotional and Neurological Responses

In the past few decades, sociologists have called for the incorporation of biological ideas and methods into sociology as a means of improving our understanding of social behavior. In this vein, researchers have argued that bringing neuroscience into the study of self and identity processes will help sociologists refine and construct more accurate theories. The present study pursues this agenda by using neuroscience insights and methodology to empirically examine a poorly understood aspect of identity processes: persistent identity nonverification. We find that increasing the amount of nonverifying feedback increases emotional and neurological arousal but only to a point before leveling out. Furthermore, our findings suggest that healthy individuals may employ an immediate coping mechanism of “suppression” to deal with persistent identity threats. We discuss the implications of our findings for future research on self and identity.


Brennan J. Miller, Will Kalkhoff, Joshua Pollock, and Matthew A. Pfeiffer





Starting Page


Ending Page