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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;739:276-90. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-1704-0_18.

The neural basis of semantic and episodic forms of self-knowledge: insights from functional neuroimaging.

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1
Department of Cognitive Sciences, Unversity of Liège, Liège, Belgium. a.dargembeau@ulg.ac.be

Abstract

Throughout evolution, hominids have developed greater capacity to think about themselves in abstract and symbolic ways. This process has reached its apex in humans with the construction of a concept of self as a distinct entity with a personal history. This chapter provides a review of recent functional neuroimaging studies that have investigated the neural correlates of such "higher-level" aspects of the human self, focusing in particular on processes that allow individuals to consciously represent and reflect on their own personal attributes (semantic forms of self-knowledge) and experiences (episodic forms of self-knowledge). These studies point to the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) as a key neural structure for processing various kinds of self-referential information. We speculate that the MPFC may mediate dynamic processes that appraise and code the self-relatedness or self-relevance of information. This brain region may thus play a key role in creating the mental model of the self that is displayed in our mind at a given moment.

PMID:
22399409
DOI:
10.1007/978-1-4614-1704-0_18
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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