How do our bodies influence who we are? Recent research in cognitive neuroscience has examined consciousness associated with the self and related multisensory processing of bodily signals, the so-called bodily self-consciousness. A parallel line of research has highlighted the concept of the autobiographical self and the associated autonoetic consciousness, which enables us to mentally travel in time.
The subjective re-experiencing of past episodes is described as re-living them from within or outside one’s body. In this brief perspective, I aim to explore the underlying characteristics of self-consciousness and its relation to bodily signals and episodic memory. I will outline some recent behavioral and neuroimaging evidence indicating that bodily cues play a fundamental role in autobiographical memory. Finally, I will discuss these emerging concepts regarding the current understanding of bodily-self, autobiographical-self, their links to self-consciousness, and suggest directions for future research.
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