8th Scientific Meeting of the Federation of European Societies of Neuropsychology (FESN) & the 2nd Panhellenic Conference on Neuropsychology
“Pieces of Me”: debating the constituents of bodily self-awareness along the lifespan in healthy and pathological populations.
Bodily self-awareness represents the canvas on which all our daily life experiences are stitched. It emerges through a complex mechanism of integrating a variety of stimuli from different sources, external and internal to the body. What is the nature of these signals and what role do they play in constructing and maintaining bodily self-awareness?
This symposium aims to open a discussion by dissecting the current non-univocal evidence on these issues. We will present the most recent experimental findings that feed onto the neurocognitive model of bodily self-awareness through evidence gathered from its modulation in healthy infants and adults, its alterations in neuropsychiatric conditions and its alterations in cases of brain damage.
Gerardo Salvato discussed the role of autonomic nervous system signals, focusing the audience’s attention on the thermoregulatory system. He will present evidence from healthy adults and clinical populations.
Laura Crucianelli discussed the contribution of interceptive signals to the sense of body ownership, a fundamental component of bodily self-consciousness, with a particular focus on skin-mediated signals.
Maria Laura Filippetti provided an updated overview of the role of visual and tactile signals in facilitating the development of body representations with a particular focus on self-recognition.
Ana Tajadura-Jiménez discussed the importance of auditory signals, combined with motor and tactile signals, to form and update body representations. She will present evidence from healthy, clinical and subclinical populations.
The speakers wrapped up the symposium, lighting the fuse to a general discussion on integrating the different tiles that make up the bodily self-awareness mosaic.
The Hearing Body: Exploring the Interplay between Audition and the Bodily Self
The way we perceive our bodies plays a crucial role in our motor, emotional, and social functioning. Neuroscientific research has revealed that our body perceptions are not fixed, but are continuously updated through sensory-motor experiences that connect us to our own bodies and the world around us. In this presentation, I will present the findings from our research group on the impact of sound feedback on our perceptions of the body. Our studies have shown that the combination of sound feedback with motor and tactile signals can modify our body representations, leading to changes in behavior, emotions, and self-identity. Our research has used novel audio-based paradigms to demonstrate the influence of sound feedback on our body perceptions. For instance, we have shown that hearing the sounds produced by our hand tapping a surface as if they are coming from a greater distance leads to the perception of a longer arm and impacts subsequent arm movements. Similarly, the representation of our body size can change when the sounds produced while walking are perceived as if they were produced by a lighter body, which in turn affects our gait and emotional state. Our studies using gesture-sound interactive systems have also highlighted the potential to influence people’s feelings about their bodies, movement awareness, and behavior. Our findings have important theoretical implications as they suggest that body representation is supramodal and open up new opportunities for the design of audio-based applications that support wellbeing. Our research has been applied to various medical conditions, including eating disorders, physical inactivity, stroke, and chronic pain, with promising results.
Keywords: auditory, multisensory, body-representation, bodily self-awareness, embodiment, body transformation experiences, emotion, motor behavior, self-care technologies, wearable sensorial technologies, eating disorders, stroke, chronic pain.