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Knowing the Self: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Self Related Processing

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Many studies have shown that humans are highly sensitive to information that is related to the self or self information. Indeed, self-reference processing can increase the speed and quality of processing and the memorization of information related to the individual’s conception of themselves. For example, ...

Many studies have shown that humans are highly sensitive to information that is related to the self or self information. Indeed, self-reference processing can increase the speed and quality of processing and the memorization of information related to the individual’s conception of themselves. For example, studies have confirmed that self-relevant stimulus information is associated with improved memory recollection, as subjects were observed performing better on memory tasks concerning self-relevant stimuli information. Hence, researchers put forward the concept of the memory advantage aspect of the self-reference effect.

In addition to studies that have focused on self relevance processing, many studies have focused on the types of the self given that the self can be classified according to multiple criteria: According to the self-categorization theory, the self can be classified into the individual self and the collective self and it can be also classified into the physical self and the psychological self. According to the definitions of the individual and psychological selves, all name stimuli used in the present study are more related to the individual self or the psychological self. Moreover, these name stimuli are equally specific and only varying in self relevance.

The same type of self-referential processing should involve the same neural mechanisms. For example, some researchers have used self-limb processing, face recognition, and hand recognition to explore the physical self. Most recently, growing evidence reveals that self-related processing affects social cognition. Moreover, considerable studies revealed that the human brain is equipped with a processing bias toward self-relevant information. In behavior studies, memory recollection was better when people used self-reference encoding strategies when compared to semantic and other-reference encoding strategies and a growing number of event-related brain potential and neuroimaging studies demonstrated a processing bias toward self-relevant information rather than non-self-relevant information. Previous studies have focused more on categorical differences, treating self relevant effects as differences in behavioral or neural activation between the responses to self-relevant and non-self-relevant stimuli. In real-life situations, people encounter various self-relevant information, and these self-relevant stimuli may have different level of self-relevance, and have different biological significance to individuals.

This Research Topic welcomes studies on self-related processing, studies exploring behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying self-related processing (such as self reference processing; self-control exploration) by using the Event related-potential, fMRI, tDCS in order to investigate the role of self processing in perception and cognition especially social cognition. This Research Topic will also consider reviews and theory-based papers to help build new research directions.


Keywords: Self Related Processing, Self Information, Self Reference Processing, Self Cognition


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