Intrinsic activity, the body, and self-ascription

Our sense of self is likely to originate, in part, from a complex mixture of internal and external information sources. The aim of this project is to look at how awareness of signals from inside the body – and specifically the heartbeat – interact with signals from the environment in order to better understand self processing.

 

We are using a combination of fMRI and EEG, along with behavioural experiments and physiological recording, to study the brain activity produced during awareness of one's own body and then linking this to the processing of different self-related stimuli. We are also looking at how both of these – interoceptive and exteroceptive responses – are tied to the intrinsic activity that is ongoing in the brain at all time. In the final stages of the project we hope to use brain stimulation in order to modulate the neural activity involved in self-related perception in order to demonstrate causative links.