Send to

Choose Destination
Conscious Cogn. 2005 Dec;14(4):679-97. Epub 2005 Oct 26.

Being a self: considerations from functional imaging.

Author information

Department of Radiology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Having a self is associated with important advantages for an organism. These advantages have been suggested to include mechanisms supporting elaborate capacities for planning, decision-making, and behavioral control. Acknowledging such functionality offers possibilities for obtaining traction on investigation of neural correlates of self-hood. A method that has potential for investigating some of the brain-based properties of self arising in behavioral contexts varying in requirements for such behavioral guidance and control is functional brain imaging. Data obtained with this method are beginning to converge on a set of brain areas that appear to play a significant role in permitting conscious access to representational content having reference to self as an embodied and independent experiencer and agent. These areas have been identified in a variety of imaging contexts ranging from passive state conditions in which they appear to manifest ongoing activity associated with spontaneous and typically 'self-related' cognition, to tasks targeting explicitly experienced properties of self, to demanding task conditions where activity within them is attenuated in apparent redirection of cognitive resources in the service of task guidance and control. In this paper, these data will be reviewed and a hypothesis presented regarding a significant role for these areas in enabling degrees of self-awareness and participating in the management of such behavioral control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center