There is a party in my head and no one is invited: Resting‐state electrocortical activity and solitude

Chengli Huang, James W. Butterworth, Anna J. Finley, Douglas J. Angus, Constantine Sedikides, Nicholas J. Kelley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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What are the motivational underpinnings of solitude? We know from self-report studies that increases in solitude are associated with drops in approach motivation and rises in avoidance motivation, but only when solitude is experienced as non-self-determined (i.e., non-autonomous). However, the extent to which individual differences in solitude relate to neurophysiological markers of approach–avoidance motivation derived from resting-state electroencephalogram (EEG) is unknown. These markers are Frontal Alpha Asymmetry, beta suppression, and midline Posterior versus Frontal EEG Theta Activity.

We assessed the relation among individual differences in the reasons for solitude (i.e., preference for solitude, motivation for solitude), approach–avoidance motivation, and resting-state EEG markers of approach–avoidance motivation (N = 115).

General preference for solitude was negatively related to approach motivation, observed in both self-reported measures and EEG markers of approach motivation. Self-determined solitude was positively related to both self-reported approach motivation and avoidance motivation in the social domain (i.e., friendship). Non-self-determined solitude was negatively associated with self-reported avoidance motivation.

This research was a preliminary attempt to address the neurophysiological underpinnings of solitude in the context of motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2023


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