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Neural Evidence of Mirror Self-Recognition in the Secondary Somatosensory Cortex of Macaque: Observations from a Single-Cell Recording Experiment and Implications for Consciousness

1
Laboratory for Symbolic Cognitive Development, RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, Kobe 650-0047, Japan
2
Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Toronto, ON M5G 1M1, Canada
3
Consciousness, Cognition, and Computation Group (CO3), Centre for Research in Cognition and Neurosciences (CRCN), ULB Neuroscience Institute (UNI), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Istvan Molnar-Szakacs
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020157
Received: 10 December 2020 / Revised: 20 January 2021 / Accepted: 21 January 2021 / Published: 25 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Bases of Conscious Awareness and Self-Representation)
Despite mirror self-recognition being regarded as a classical indication of self-awareness, little is known about its neural underpinnings. An increasing body of evidence pointing to a role of multimodal somatosensory neurons in self-recognition guided our investigation toward the secondary somatosensory cortex (SII), as we observed single-neuron activity from a macaque monkey sitting in front of a mirror. The monkey was previously habituated to the mirror, successfully acquiring the ability of mirror self-recognition. While the monkey underwent visual and somatosensory stimulation, multimodal visual and somatosensory activity was detected in the SII, with neurons found to respond to stimuli seen through the mirror. Responses were also modulated by self-related or non-self-related stimuli. These observations corroborate that vision is an important aspect of SII activity, with electrophysiological evidence of mirror self-recognition at the neuronal level, even when such an ability is not innate. We also show that the SII may be involved in distinguishing self and non-self. Together, these results point to the involvement of the SII in the establishment of bodily self-consciousness. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-recognition; consciousness; self-awareness; self-other; self-in-the-world self-recognition; consciousness; self-awareness; self-other; self-in-the-world
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bretas, R.; Taoka, M.; Hihara, S.; Cleeremans, A.; Iriki, A. Neural Evidence of Mirror Self-Recognition in the Secondary Somatosensory Cortex of Macaque: Observations from a Single-Cell Recording Experiment and Implications for Consciousness. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 157. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020157

AMA Style

Bretas R, Taoka M, Hihara S, Cleeremans A, Iriki A. Neural Evidence of Mirror Self-Recognition in the Secondary Somatosensory Cortex of Macaque: Observations from a Single-Cell Recording Experiment and Implications for Consciousness. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(2):157. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020157

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bretas, Rafael; Taoka, Miki; Hihara, Sayaka; Cleeremans, Axel; Iriki, Atsushi. 2021. "Neural Evidence of Mirror Self-Recognition in the Secondary Somatosensory Cortex of Macaque: Observations from a Single-Cell Recording Experiment and Implications for Consciousness" Brain Sci. 11, no. 2: 157. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020157

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