Underlying mechanisms of episodic autobiographical memory and self-consciousness

Cognitive neuroscience has been examining consciousness associated with the subject, that is the self of the conscious experience and its related multisensory processing of bodily signals, the so-called bodily self-consciousness. Different line of research has highlighted the concept of the autobiographical self in memory and the associated autonoetic consciousness, that is the human ability to mentally travel in time. The subjective re-experiencing of past episodes is often described as re-living them from a viewpoint and location that is similar to the initial encoding. In the first part of my thesis, I have studied how self-relevant bodily cues and personal memories influence our sense of self. In the second part, I have examined how the self is involved in spontaneous thoughts. Through a collection of four studies, I will argue here that it is possible to explore the underlying characteristics of self-consciousness and its relation to bodily signals and memory by a number of cognitive neuroscience approaches, including virtual reality (VR), electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). First, I investigated how the presence or absence of multisensory bodily cues influences long-term episodic autobiographical memory by using immersive VR environment. Second, I examined the underlying brain mechanisms of bodily-self and autobiographical-self by combining a meta-analytical approach with recent fMRI results from (a) patients suffering with out-of-body experiences and (b) healthy participants with induced illusory states of bodily self. Third, I explored how the immersive VR technology can be used to selectively and retroactively strengthen episodic autobiographical memory. Fourth, I examined whether it is possible to capture the inner, self-relevant conscious thoughts and record them with both fMRI and EEG methods. The results from my thesis indicate that (a) the bodily cues fundamentally influence the autobiographical memory and (b) it is possible to manipulate the self-related nature of conscious thoughts. I will discuss my findings with reference to current understanding of bodily-self, autobiographical-self and their links to theories of self-consciousness. Finally, based on my results, I will suggest what should be the following, future step towards memory prosthesis.


Directeur(s):
Gruetter, Rolf
Michel, Christoph
Année
2019
Publisher:
Lausanne, EPFL
Mots-clefs:
Laboratoires:
LIFMET




 Notice créée le 2019-01-31, modifiée le 2019-06-17

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