Self-awareness Part 2: Neuroanatomy and importance of inner speech

The present review of literature surveys two main issues related to self-referential processes: (1) Where in the brain are these processes located, and do they correlate with brain areas uniquely specialized in self-processing? (2) What are the empirical and theoretical links between inner speech and self-awareness? Although initial neuroimaging attempts tended to favor a right hemispheric view of selfawareness, more recent work shows that the brain areas which support self-related processes are located in both hemispheres and are not uniquely activated during self-reflective tasks. Furthermore, self-awareness at least partially relies on internal speech. An activation of Broca's area (which is known to sustain inner speech) is observed in a significant number of brain-imaging studies of self-reflection. Loss of inner speech following brain damage produces self-awareness deficits. Inner speech most likely can internally reproduce social mechanisms leading to self-awareness. Also, the process of self-reflection can be seen as being a problem-solving task, and self-talk as being a cognitive tool the individual uses to effectively work on the task. It is noted that although a large body of knowledge already exists on self-awareness, little is known about individual differences in dispositional self-focus and types of self-attention (e.g., rumination vs. self-reflection)
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Alain Morin (2004). A Neurocognitive and Socioecological Model of Self-Awareness. Genetic Social And General Psychology Monographs 130 (3):197-222.
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore & Chris Frith (2003). Self-Awareness and Action. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. Special Issue 13 (2):219-224.

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