Common recruitment of angular gyrus in episodic autobiographical memory and bodily self-consciousness

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Abstract

Parietal cortex and adjacent parts of the temporal cortex have recently been associated with bodily self-consciousness (BSC). Similarly, growing evidence suggests that the lateral parietal cortex is crucial for the subjective aspects of episodic autobiographical memory (EAM), which is based on the conscious experience of reliving past events. However, the neuroanatomical relationship between both fundamental aspects remains currently unexplored. Moreover, despite the wealth of neuroimaging data on EAM, only few neuroimaging studies have examined BSC and even fewer examined those aspects of BSC that are most closely related to EAM. Here, we investigated whether regions in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) that have been involved in spatial aspects of BSC (self-location and first-person perspective), as described by Ionta et al. (2011) are also active in studies investigating autobiographical memory. To examine this relation, we thus compared the regions indicated in the study by Ionta et al. (2011) based on data in healthy participants and neurological patients, with the results from a meta-analytical study we performed based on functional neuroimaging studies on EAM and semantic autobiographical memory (SAM). We report an anatomical overlap bilaterally in the angular gyrus (AG), but not in other parietal or temporal lobe structures between BSC and EAM. Moreover, there was no overlap between BSC and SAM. These preliminary data suggest that the bilateral AG may be a key structure for the conscious re-experiencing of past life episodes (EAM) and the conscious on-line experience of being located and experiencing the world in first-person (BSC).

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Bréchet, L., Grivaz, P., Gauthier, B., & Blanke, O. (2018). Common recruitment of angular gyrus in episodic autobiographical memory and bodily self-consciousness. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00270

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