The bilocated mind: new perspectives on self-localization and self-identification

  • Furlanetto T
  • Bertone C
  • Becchio C
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Does the human mind allow for self-locating at more than one place at a time? Evidence from neurology, cognitive neuroscience, and experimental psychology suggests that mental bilocation is a complex, but genuine experience, occurring more frequently than commonly thought. In this article, we distinguish between different components of bilocated self-representation: self-localization in two different places at the same time, self-identification with another body, reduplication of first-person perspective. We argue that different forms of mental bilocation may result from the combination of these components. To illustrate this, we discuss evidence of mental bilocation in pathological conditions such as heautoscopy, during immersion in virtual environments, and in everyday life, during social interaction. Finally, we consider the conditions for mental bilocation and speculate on the possible role of mental bilocation in the context of social interaction, suggesting that self-localization at two places at the same time may prove advantageous for the construction of a shared space.




Furlanetto, T., Bertone, C., & Becchio, C. (2013). The bilocated mind: new perspectives on self-localization and self-identification. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7.

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