What the self is and how we come to have a feeling of unified experience as an individual is a question that has been posed by people all over the world and throughout history. I am interested in looking at this problem using different neuroimaging techniques in order to understand how our brain can produce such a phenomenon.
Part of this is looking at how the activity that is always going on in our brain – even when we are doing nothing in particular – is produced and organised. This involves trying to link the activity that we can measure using neuroimaging with the neurotransmitters in the brain that underlie it.
I work on these questions in healthy participants but also study different patient groups – such as those with depression or schizophrenia – where the typical processes in the brain may have broken down to produce a pathological experience.