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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Apr;41:85-97. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.01.029. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

The free-energy self: a predictive coding account of self-recognition.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Action and Body, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. Electronic address: m.apps@rhul.ac.uk.
2
Laboratory of Action and Body, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. Electronic address: manos.tsakiris@rhul.ac.uk.

Abstract

Recognising and representing one's self as distinct from others is a fundamental component of self-awareness. However, current theories of self-recognition are not embedded within global theories of cortical function and therefore fail to provide a compelling explanation of how the self is processed. We present a theoretical account of the neural and computational basis of self-recognition that is embedded within the free-energy account of cortical function. In this account one's body is processed in a Bayesian manner as the most likely to be "me". Such probabilistic representation arises through the integration of information from hierarchically organised unimodal systems in higher-level multimodal areas. This information takes the form of bottom-up "surprise" signals from unimodal sensory systems that are explained away by top-down processes that minimise the level of surprise across the brain. We present evidence that this theoretical perspective may account for the findings of psychological and neuroimaging investigations into self-recognition and particularly evidence that representations of the self are malleable, rather than fixed as previous accounts of self-recognition might suggest.

KEYWORDS:

Bayesian; Body ownership; Enfacement; Face recognition; Free energy; Prediction error; Predictive coding; Rubber hand illusion; Self-awareness; Self-recognition; Voice recognition

PMID:
23416066
PMCID:
PMC3848896
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.01.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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