Petkova, Valeria I. Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Ehrsson, Henrik Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
- Investigations of mechanisms and processes
- Recent experiments
- Brain and neuronal involvement
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
When we look at ourselves, we immediately recognize our body as our own. The question of how this comes to be has been discussed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries. Recently, cognitive neuroscience studies have begun to identify the perceptual processes and brain mechanisms involved in body self-perception. This includes experiments investigating how we feel ownership of our limbs and our entire bodies, why we experience that we are “inside” our physical body, and how the brain distinguishes between sensory signals from objects in the external world and from parts of the body. This research is important because the understanding of how we recognize our own bodies is a significant first step for understanding self-awareness more generally. Furthermore, it can also lead to important new medical and industrial applications. For example, in building prosthetic limbs that feel more like real limbs, and simulated bodies in virtual reality (the computer-generated simulation of an environment) that feel just like real bodies.
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