Self-representation: Searching for a neural signature of self-consciousness

Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):529-543 (2003)
Human self-consciousness operates at different levels of complexity and at least comprises five different levels of representational processes. These five levels are nonconceptual representation, conceptual representation, sentential representation, meta-representation, and iterative meta-representation. These different levels of representation can be operationalized by taking a first-person-perspective that is involved in representational processes on different levels of complexity. We refer to experiments that operationalize a first-person-perspective on the level of conceptual and meta-representational self-consciousness. Interestingly, these experiments show converging evidence for a recruitment of medial cortical and parietal regions during taking a first-person-perspective, even when operating on different degrees of complexity. These data lend support for the speculative hypothesis, that there exist a neural signature for human self-consciousness that is recruited independent from the degree of representational complexity to be performed.
Keywords *Cognitive Processes  *Self Perception
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