Toward a Molecular Profile of Self-Representation

Front Hum Neurosci. 2016 Nov 28;10:602. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00602. eCollection 2016.


Feeling embodiment over our body or body part has a major role in the understanding of the self and control of self-actions. Even though it is crucial in our daily life, embodiment is not an homogenous phenotype across population, as quantified by implicit and explicit measures (i.e., neuroimaging or self-reports). Studies have shown differences in neuropathological conditions compared to healthy controls, but also across healthy individuals. We discuss examples of self-perception differences, and the molecular origin of embodiment, focusing on clinical cases, during the first and second section. We then discuss two important questions in this molecular-to-embodiment relationship: (i) which are the molecular levels (and their associated techniques) that can be relevant to embodiment, and (ii) which are the most adequate experiments to correlate molecular profiles and embodiment quantification across individuals. Potential answers for both questions will be outlined during the third and fourth sections, respectively, in order to design a framework to study the molecular profile of body embodiment.

Keywords: OMICS techniques; proteomics; self-representation; sense of agency; sense of ownership.