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Cereb Cortex. 2015 Sep;25(9):2806-14. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu077. Epub 2014 Apr 25.

Neural Mechanism for Mirrored Self-face Recognition.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8575, Japan International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.
  • 2Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8575, Japan Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.
  • 3Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.
  • 4Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo 102-8472, Japan Tamagawa University Brain Science Institute, Tokyo 194-8610, Japan.


Self-face recognition in the mirror is considered to involve multiple processes that integrate 2 perceptual cues: temporal contingency of the visual feedback on one's action (contingency cue) and matching with self-face representation in long-term memory (figurative cue). The aim of this study was to examine the neural bases of these processes by manipulating 2 perceptual cues using a "virtual mirror" system. This system allowed online dynamic presentations of real-time and delayed self- or other facial actions. Perception-level processes were identified as responses to only a single perceptual cue. The effect of the contingency cue was identified in the cuneus. The regions sensitive to the figurative cue were subdivided by the response to a static self-face, which was identified in the right temporal, parietal, and frontal regions, but not in the bilateral occipitoparietal regions. Semantic- or integration-level processes, including amodal self-representation and belief validation, which allow modality-independent self-recognition and the resolution of potential conflicts between perceptual cues, respectively, were identified in distinct regions in the right frontal and insular cortices. The results are supportive of the multicomponent notion of self-recognition and suggest a critical role for contingency detection in the co-emergence of self-recognition and empathy in infants.

© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press.


contingency; fMRI; face; recognition; self

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