The self- and other-referential processing

Knyazev G.G.

Doctor of Biological Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of Differential Psychophysiology of the Scientific Research Institute of Neurosciences and Medicine

National Research University – Higher School of Economics

The nature of self is one of the most controversial questions throughout the history of philosophy and science. Different approaches emphasize different aspects of this construct including emotional, cognitive, and social self. Moreover, some authors deny its reality altogether claiming that the self is just an illusion. From the point of view of social science, the intersubjective or social aspects are the most important aspects of self. One of the most popular approaches to the study of these aspects is contrasting self-referential with other-referential processing in the trait adjective judgment task. In our study, using fMRI functional connectivity data, we aimed to directly compare the involvement of the default mode network (DMN) versus external attention-related task-positive networks (TPN) during self- and other- referential processing for different others varying in the degree of their closeness to the self. We hypothesized that the DMN versus TPN balance should linearly decrease during evaluation of self, close-other, distant-other, and an unpleasant person.

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