The brain network reflecting bodily self-consciousness: a functional connectivity study

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Dec;9(12):1904-13. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst185. Epub 2014 Jan 5.


Several brain regions are important for processing self-location and first-person perspective, two important aspects of bodily self-consciousness. However, the interplay between these regions has not been clarified. In addition, while self-location and first-person perspective in healthy subjects are associated with bilateral activity in temporoparietal junction (TPJ), disturbed self-location and first-person perspective result from damage of only the right TPJ. Identifying the involved brain network and understanding the role of hemispheric specializations in encoding self-location and first-person perspective, will provide important information on system-level interactions neurally mediating bodily self-consciousness. Here, we used functional connectivity and showed that right and left TPJ are bilaterally connected to supplementary motor area, ventral premotor cortex, insula, intraparietal sulcus and occipitotemporal cortex. Furthermore, the functional connectivity between right TPJ and right insula had the highest selectivity for changes in self-location and first-person perspective. Finally, functional connectivity revealed hemispheric differences showing that self-location and first-person perspective modulated the connectivity between right TPJ, right posterior insula, and right supplementary motor area, and between left TPJ and right anterior insula. The present data extend previous evidence on healthy populations and clinical observations in neurological deficits, supporting a bilateral, but right-hemispheric dominant, network for bodily self-consciousness.

Keywords: first-person perspective; insula; multisensory integration; self-location; temporoparietal junction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / blood supply
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Temporal Lobe / blood supply
  • Touch / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen