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Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 Feb;30(2):369-82.

Differential parametric modulation of self-relatedness and emotions in different brain regions.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.


Our sense of self is strongly colored by emotions although at the same time we are well able to distinguish affect and self. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we here tested for the differential effects of self-relatedness and emotion dimensions (valence, intensity) on parametric modulation of neural activity during perception of emotional stimuli. We observed opposite parametric modulation of self-relatedness and emotion dimensions in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum/nucleus accumbens, whereas neural activity in subcortical regions (tectum, right amygdala, hypothalamus) was modulated by self-relatedness and emotion dimensions in the same direction. In sum, our results demonstrate that self-relatedness is closely linked to emotion dimensions of valence and intensity in many lower subcortical brain regions involved in basic emotional systems and, at the same time, distinct from them in higher cortical regions that mediate cognitive processes necessary for becoming aware of one's self, for example self-consciousness. Hum

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