Autoscopy: Disrupted Self in Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Anomalous Conscious States

  • Aaron L. Mishara


Autoscopy is a loosely related complex of experiences in which one sees (or experiences) a “double” as external to one’s current vantage point. The phenomenology of autoscopy provides an alternative to current “models” of self in cognitive science. After years of silence on matters such as consciousness and self, cognitive science and neuroscience have now swung in the opposite direction, and claim to be able to experimentally study these topics, often in an oversimplified manner. These approaches uncritically confuse representational content about self or self-awareness in self-referential processing, i.e., having a self (a self-enclosed entity), with being a self, prospectively open to its own (yet-to-be-known) future.1 Ignoring this difference has led to an industry of philosophical essays and neuroimaging studies that claim to access the first-person perspective when only able to access higher order self-referential judgments (for critical reviews, see Fuchs 2006; Legrand et al. 2003; Mishara 2007b). A similar confusion prevails in current approaches to classify types of autoscopy in the search for its underlying cognitive-neural mechanisms.2 Due to its descriptive method and resulting theoretical framework, phenomenology is in a unique position to contribute to the study of human self and its disruption in neuropsychatric disorders.


Body Image Neuropsychiatric Disorder Inferior Parietal Lobe Phenomenological Analysis Body Schema 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron L. Mishara
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Neuroscience Research UnitYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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