Shared Neural Mechanisms of Identity for Self, Other, and Object Público

Drucker, Jonathan Harris (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/kw52j8580?locale=es
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Abstract

Abstract
Shared Neural Mechanisms of Identity for Self, Other, and Object
By Jonathan H. Drucker

Various theories have posited the existence of a core self process in the human brain, a constantly regenerated mental representation of first-person experience. Core self is related to the much studied self-concept, but is distinct from the self-concept in that it exists independently of conceptual knowledge. Here, we sought to elucidate the core self process using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). More generally, we sought to explain how the human brain represents identities for the self, for other human beings, and for inanimate objects. Twelve volunteers from the Emory University community underwent hour-long fMRI scans while performing a simple task. Participants were presented with one of three individuals (themselves, American icon Oprah Winfrey, and an historical racecar called the Blue Flame) and asked whether various properties applied to the individual in question. Results were inconclusive regarding core self, but indicated a widely distributed network for processing identity. Intriguingly, this network was similarly activated for all three individuals, indicating a shared neural resource for representing identities for the self, for other human beings, and for inanimate objects.

Shared Neural Mechanisms of Identity for Self, Other, and Object
By
Jonathan H. Drucker
Bachelor of Science
Advisor: Lawrence W. Barsalou, Ph.D.
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the
James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
in Psychology
2010

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction...1

Background...1

Nature of the Self...1

The Self-concept...1

The Core Self...3

The Search for the Self: Focusing on Self-referential Processing...5

Overview and Predictions...7

Overview...7

Predictions...10

Self-relevance for individuals...10

Individuals: Humans vs. objects...11

Properties: Concrete vs. abstract...11

Methods...12

Design and Participants...12

Materials...13

Individuals...13

Properties...14

Tone...16

Procedure...16

Structure of a trial...16

Structure of the experiment...17

Image Acquisition...18

Image Preprocessing...19

Data Analysis...20

Individual vs. individual...23

Abstract vs. concrete...23

Human vs. object...23

Individual vs. property...24

Results...24

Contrasts Between Individuals...24

Contrasts Between types of Properties...26

Abstract vs. concrete...26

Humans vs. object...26

Contrasts Between Individuals and Properties...27

Areas active for individuals...28

Areas active for properties...30

Discussion...31

The Neural Substrates of the Core Self...31

Fundamental Processing of Identity...33

Predication: Applying Properties to Individuals...35

Conclusions...36

References...37

Tables and Figures...43

Table 1...43

Table 2...44

Table 3...45

Table 4...46

Table 5...47

Table 6...48

Table 7...49

Table 8...50

Table 9...51

Table 10...52

Figure 1...54

Figure 2...55

Figure 3...56

Figure 4...57

Figure 5...58

Figure 6...59

Figure 7...60

Figure 8...61

Appendix 1 - Oprah Description...62

Appendix 2 - Blue Flame Description...63

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