Causal evidence for the processing of bodily self in the anterior precuneus

Neuron. 2023 Aug 16;111(16):2502-2512.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2023.05.013. Epub 2023 Jun 8.


To probe the causal importance of the human posteromedial cortex (PMC) in processing the sense of self, we studied a rare cohort of nine patients with electrodes implanted bilaterally in the precuneus, posterior cingulate, and retrosplenial regions with a combination of neuroimaging, intracranial recordings, and direct cortical stimulations. In all participants, the stimulation of specific sites within the anterior precuneus (aPCu) caused dissociative changes in physical and spatial domains. Using single-pulse electrical stimulations and neuroimaging, we present effective and resting-state connectivity of aPCu hot zone with the rest of the brain and show that they are located outside the boundaries of the default mode network (DMN) but connected reciprocally with it. We propose that the function of this subregion of the PMC is integral to a range of cognitive processes that require the self's physical point of reference, given its location within a spatial environment.

Keywords: body schema; brain network; connectivity; consciousness; corticocortical evoked potential; derealization; dissociation; fall; float.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Brain*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neural Pathways
  • Parietal Lobe* / diagnostic imaging