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Multisensory mechanisms in temporo-parietal cortex support self-location and first-person perspective


Ionta, Silvio; Heydrich, Lukas; Lenggenhager, Bigna; Mouthon, Michael; Fornari, Eleonora; Chapuis, Dominique; Gassert, Roger; Blanke, Olaf (2011). Multisensory mechanisms in temporo-parietal cortex support self-location and first-person perspective. Neuron, 70(2):363-374.

Abstract

Self-consciousness has mostly been approached by philosophical enquiry and not by empirical neuroscientific study, leading to an overabundance of diverging theories and an absence of data-driven theories. Using robotic technology, we achieved specific bodily conflicts and induced predictable changes in a fundamental aspect of self-consciousness by altering where healthy subjects experienced themselves to be (self-location). Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) activity reflected experimental changes in self-location that also depended on the first-person perspective due to visuo-tactile and visuo-vestibular conflicts. Moreover, in a large lesion analysis study of neurological patients with a well-defined state of abnormal self-location, brain damage was also localized at TPJ, providing causal evidence that TPJ encodes self-location. Our findings reveal that multisensory integration at the TPJ reflects one of the most fundamental subjective feelings of humans: the feeling of being an entity localized at a position in space and perceiving the world from this position and perspective.

Abstract

Self-consciousness has mostly been approached by philosophical enquiry and not by empirical neuroscientific study, leading to an overabundance of diverging theories and an absence of data-driven theories. Using robotic technology, we achieved specific bodily conflicts and induced predictable changes in a fundamental aspect of self-consciousness by altering where healthy subjects experienced themselves to be (self-location). Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) activity reflected experimental changes in self-location that also depended on the first-person perspective due to visuo-tactile and visuo-vestibular conflicts. Moreover, in a large lesion analysis study of neurological patients with a well-defined state of abnormal self-location, brain damage was also localized at TPJ, providing causal evidence that TPJ encodes self-location. Our findings reveal that multisensory integration at the TPJ reflects one of the most fundamental subjective feelings of humans: the feeling of being an entity localized at a position in space and perceiving the world from this position and perspective.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:28 April 2011
Deposited On:21 Sep 2017 15:00
Last Modified:22 Sep 2017 01:03
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:0896-6273
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2011.03.009
PubMed ID:21521620

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