Neural Dynamics in the Processing of Personal Objects as an Index of the Brain Representation of the Self
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Across time, personal belongings incorporate semantic self-knowledge contributing to the subjective meaning of mineness and preference, whose access is prioritized. Although neuroimaging is starting to explore self-knowledge processes, more research is still necessary to better understand many aspects of these processes. One, the timing of the mechanisms involved, is the main purpose of the present study. Here, we investigate the differential patterns of event-related brain potentials and the underlying dynamic causal connectivity between neural generators to self-related objects ranging in self-relevance, as compared to non-personal-related objects. Personal objects elicited lower N2 and higher P3 components compared to non-personal objects, and those with high relevance showed the lowest N2 and the highest P3 amplitudes. Brain sources connectivity corresponding to N2–P3 ERP complex revealed an early connectivity between posterior cingulate/precuneus and parahippocampal gyrus, common for both types of objects. However, this parietal connectivity was kept in later latencies only for personal objects, also intervening the anterior cingulate as the main driver of information flow to the parietal network. Personal objects showed more extensive connectivity between parietal areas and these with anterior cingulate. These findings provide new evidence of a neural connectivity and its temporal course underlying the interplay of lower-level and higher-level cognitive processes relative to personal objects. Further, the results offer new insights on how superordinate mental representations enable distinctive processing of relevant belongings, starting relatively early in time.
KeywordsSelf-relevance Object ownership N2 P3 Cortical Midline Structures Effective source connectivity
This study has been funded by Grant No. PSI2017-82357-P from MINECO (Spain).
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