Understanding the neural bases of bodily self-consciousness: recent achievements and main challenges


  • Dary Zoé
  • Lopez Christophe


  • Consciousness
  • Body representation
  • Self-consciousness
  • Multisensory integration
  • Neuroimaging

document type



The last two decades have seen a surge of interest in the mechanisms underpinning bodily self-consciousness (BSC). Studies showed that BSC relies on several bodily experiences (i.e., self-location, body ownership, agency, first- person perspective) and multisensory integration. The aim of this literature review is to summarize new insights and novel developments into the understanding of the neural bases of BSC, such as the contribution of the interoceptive signals to the neural mechanisms of BSC, and the overlap with the neural bases of conscious experience in general and of higher-level forms of self (i.e., the cognitive self). We also identify the main challenges and propose future perspectives that need to be conducted to progress into the understanding of the neural mechanisms of BSC. In particular, we point the lack of crosstalk and cross-fertilization between subdisciplines of integrative neuroscience to better understand BSC, especially the lack of research in animal models to decipher the neural networks and systems of neurotransmitters underpinning BSC. We highlight the need for more causal evidence that specific brain areas are instrumental in generating BSC and the need for studies tapping into interindividual differences in the phenomenal experience of BSC and their underlying mechanisms.

more information