General self-efficacy (GSE) is an important factor in education, social participation, and medical treatment. However, the only study that has investigated the direct association between GSE and a neural correlate did not identify specific brain regions, rather only assessed brain structures, and included older adult subjects. GSE is related to motivation, physical activity, learning, the willingness to initiate behaviour and expend effort, and adjustment. Thus, it was hypothesized in the present study that the neural correlates of GSE might be related to changes in the basal ganglia, which is a region related to the abovementioned self-efficacy factors. This study aimed to identify the brain structures associated with GSE in healthy young adults (n = 1204, 691 males and 513 females, age 20.7 ± 1.8 years) using regional grey matter density and volume (rGMD and rGMV), fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) analyses of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. The findings showed that scores on the GSE Scale (GSES) were associated with a lower MD value in regions from the right putamen to the globus pallidum; however, there were no significant association between GSES scores and regional brain structures using the other analyses (rGMD, rGMV, and FA). Thus, the present findings indicated that the lenticular nucleus is a neural correlate of GSE.
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