Disentangling neural processes of egocentric and allocentric mental spatial transformations using whole-body photos of self and other

Shanti Ganesh*, Hein T. van Schie, Emily S. Cross, Floris P. de Lange, Daniël H. J. Wigboldus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mental imagery of one's body moving through space is important for imagining changing visuospatial perspectives, as well as for determining how we might appear to other people. Previous neuroimaging research has implicated the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) in this process. It is unclear, however, how neural activity in the TPJ relates to the rotation perspectives from which mental spatial transformation (MST) of one's own body can take place, i.e. from an egocentric or an allocentric perspective. It is also unclear whether TPJ involvement in MST is self-specific or whether the TPJ may also be involved in MST of other human bodies. The aim of the current study was to disentangle neural processes involved in egocentric versus allocentric MSTs of human bodies representing self and other. We measured functional brain activity of healthy participants while they performed egocentric and allocentric MSTs in relation to whole-body photographs of themselves and a same-sex stranger. Findings indicated higher blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response in bilateral TPJ during egocentric versus allocentric MST. Moreover, BOLD response in the TPJ during egocentric MST correlated positively with self-report scores indicating how awkward participants felt while viewing whole-body photos of themselves. These findings considerably advance our understanding of TPJ involvement in MST and its interplay with self-awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroImage
Volume116
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • mental rotation
  • egocentric
  • TPJ
  • fMRI
  • out-of-body experience
  • self

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