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Neuroimage. 2015 Aug 1;116:30-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.05.003. Epub 2015 May 12.

Disentangling neural processes of egocentric and allocentric mental spatial transformations using whole-body photos of self and other.

Author information

1
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 HR Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition & Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 EN Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: s.ganesh@psych.ru.nl.
2
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 HR Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition & Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 EN Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
3
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 HR Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition & Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 EN Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynned LL57 2AS, United Kingdom.
4
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 HR Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Mental imagery of one's body moving through space is important for imagining changing visuospatial perspectives, as well as for determining how we might appear to other people. Previous neuroimaging research has implicated the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) in this process. It is unclear, however, how neural activity in the TPJ relates to the rotation perspectives from which mental spatial transformation (MST) of one's own body can take place, i.e. from an egocentric or an allocentric perspective. It is also unclear whether TPJ involvement in MST is self-specific or whether the TPJ may also be involved in MST of other human bodies. The aim of the current study was to disentangle neural processes involved in egocentric versus allocentric MSTs of human bodies representing self and other. We measured functional brain activity of healthy participants while they performed egocentric and allocentric MSTs in relation to whole-body photographs of themselves and a same-sex stranger. Findings indicated higher blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response in bilateral TPJ during egocentric versus allocentric MST. Moreover, BOLD response in the TPJ during egocentric MST correlated positively with self-report scores indicating how awkward participants felt while viewing whole-body photos of themselves. These findings considerably advance our understanding of TPJ involvement in MST and its interplay with self-awareness.

KEYWORDS:

Egocentric; Mental rotation; Out-of-body experience; Self; TPJ; fMRI

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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