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What Happens in Your Brain During Mental Dissociation? A Quest Towards Neural Markers of a Unified Sense of Self

  • Stephanie Cacioppo
Personality and Impulse Control Disorders (R Lee, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Personality and Impulse Control Disorders

Abstract

Whether you feel dissociated from the rest of the world or from yourself, you feel some kind of mental dissociations. Each form of mental dissociations varies in symptomatology and associated deficits. Nevertheless, psychiatrists, neurologists, and neuroscientists have discussed, for decades, the possibility of a holistic neural mechanism underlying the core feature of mental dissociations, i.e., disruption of a unified sense of self and a failure to accurately integrate multisensory information between self and social environment. Recently, functional and electrical neuroimaging studies shed light on this question by pointing to a correlation between the core symptomatology of mental dissociations and temporo-parietal junction (TPJ)—an area involved in sense of self, agency, perspective taking, and multimodal integration of somatosensory information. Interestingly, results also suggest that each specific aspect of each form of mental dissociation is associated with brain areas that are specific to that domain.

Keywords

Brain Dissociation Sense of self Social disconnection Social connections Embodiment/disembodiment Electrical neuroimaging Functional neuroimaging Mirror neuron system (MNS) Temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) Social self Loneliness Out-of-body experience Interpersonal processes 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Biological Sciences DivisionThe University of Chicago Pritzker Medical SchoolChicagoUSA

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