Development, degeneration and neural network of the bodily self

Gessaroli, Erica (2014) Development, degeneration and neural network of the bodily self, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze psicologiche, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6342.
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The question addressed by this dissertation is how the human brain builds a coherent representation of the body, and how this representation is used to recognize its own body. Recent approaches by neuroimaging and TMS revealed hints for a distinct brain representation of human body, as compared with other stimulus categories. Neuropsychological studies demonstrated that body-parts and self body-parts recognition are separate processes sub-served by two different, even if possibly overlapping, networks within the brain. Bodily self-recognition is one aspect of our ability to distinguish between self and others and the self/other distinction is a crucial aspect of social behaviour. This is the reason why I have conducted a series of experiment on subjects with everyday difficulties in social and emotional behaviour, such as patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). More specifically, I studied the implicit self body/face recognition (Chapter 6) and the influence of emotional body postures on bodily self-processing in TD children as well as in ASD children (Chapter 7). I found that the bodily self-recognition is present in TD and in ASD children and that emotional body postures modulate self and others’ body processing. Subsequently, I compared implicit and explicit bodily self-recognition in a neuro-degenerative pathology, such as in PD patients, and I found a selective deficit in implicit but not in explicit self-recognition (Chapter 8). This finding suggests that implicit and explicit bodily self-recognition are separate processes subtended by different mechanisms that can be selectively impaired. If the bodily self is crucial for self/other distinction, the space around the body (personal space) represents the space of interaction and communication with others. When, I studied this space in autism, I found that personal space regulation is impaired in ASD children (Chapter 9).

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Gessaroli, Erica
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze umanistiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
self-awareness, implicit and explicit recognition, body, face, personal space.
Data di discussione
28 Aprile 2014

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