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Esto-Lab (Experiencing Self Through Others)

We experience the self by being in the world, by interacting with others and our environment. To establish a self, we need to identify the boundaries of our own bodies and differentiate ”self” from “others”. Disturbed tactile self-other-distinction might affect the bodily self, and thereby even the higher-order self. We study the bodily self using behavioral test, imaging and psychophysics. 

Photo credit THOR BALKHED
We aim to understand how our brain and body contribute to the experience of a “self”. A basic perception of ourselves as entities is that of being and having a body. Phenomenologically these experiences occur often in interaction with others and our surroundings. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain and the spinal cord, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), behavioral measures and psychophysics to understand how humans differentiate between “self” and “other” – and what happens if this differentiation is altered. We study dysfunctional self-other-differentiation in psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia and in states of altered self-perception that can be evoked pharmacologically or with body illusions.