The cognitive neuroscience of self-awareness: Current framework, clinical implications, and future research directions

Author: Daniel C Mograbi1,2, Simon Hall3, Beatriz Arantes1, Jonathan Huntley4,5
1 Department of Psychology, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.
3 Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
4 Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, UK.
5 Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.
Conference/Journal: Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci
Date published: 2023 Dec 3
Other: Pages: e1670 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1002/wcs.1670. , Word Count: 138

Self-awareness, the ability to take oneself as the object of awareness, has been an enigma for our species, with different answers to this question being provided by religion, philosophy, and, more recently, science. The current review aims to discuss the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying self-awareness. The multidimensional nature of self-awareness will be explored, suggesting how it can be thought of as an emergent property observed in different cognitive complexity levels, within a predictive coding approach. A presentation of alterations of self-awareness in neuropsychiatric conditions will ground a discussion on alternative frameworks to understand this phenomenon, in health and psychopathology, with future research directions being indicated to fill current gaps in the literature. This article is categorized under: Philosophy > Consciousness Psychology > Brain Function and Dysfunction Neuroscience > Cognition.

Keywords: agency; interoception; metacognition; neuropsychiatric conditions; self-awareness.

PMID: 38043919 DOI: 10.1002/wcs.1670