Although previous research has demonstrated that individuals are motivated to self-enhance, the neurocognitive mechanisms and temporal dynamics of self-enhancement are poorly understood. The current research examined whether self-enhancing motivations affect the perceptual processing of social feedback. Participants who varied in self-enhancement motivations received accept and reject feedback while EEG was recorded. Following this task, we measured perceptions of feedback by asking participants to estimate the number of times they were rejected. Source localization and time–frequency analyses revealed that alpha power in the medial frontal cortex (MFC) completely mediated the relationship between self-enhancement motivations and rejection estimates. Specifically, greater self-enhancement motivations predicted decreased MFC alpha power to reject compared to accept feedback, which predicted decreased rejection estimates. These findings suggest that self-enhancement motivations decrease perception of social rejection by influencing how the MFC processes social feedback.

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