e., when the illusory self-relocation occurred). Therefore, the link between TPJ activity and self-relocation may be rather complex. One possible selleck chemical way of reconciling this seemingly contradictory pattern of results is to consider the impact of vestibular-visuo-tactile conflicts and the relative neural effort required to relocate the self from the physical body into the virtual body between groups. In the Up-group, the observed virtual body coherently matches the subjects’ real physical orientation. Therefore, the virtual body may be more easily embodied because vestibular and visuo-tactile signals are less incongruent. This may explain why neural activity in TPJ is higher in asynchronous
than synchronous stimulation conditions where embodiment and relocation typically occur. In the Down-group, the illusory relocation into
the virtual body can only take place after resolving the vestibular conflict between the actual physical position GSK2118436 price of the subject and that of the illusory body. Since the embodiment process requires more neural effort in the Down-group, TPJ activity in this group was higher during the synchronous visuo-tactile condition. Such an interpretation, which is slightly different from the one provided by the authors, may explain why bilateral TPJ activity is differentially modulated by the visuo-tactile stimulation in the Up- versus Down-group. It is also important to mention that the authors analyzed the structural scans of nine brain-damaged patients with reported OBEs to investigate the possible association of OBEs with specific lesional loci. Although a correlational analysis between the lesioned voxels and the degree of individual
self-representation deficits could not be performed, the overlap of lesion location across subjects indicated a significant group-level association between OBEs and right TPJ. This result supports the claim that TPJ is involved in modulating self-location in space and first-person perspective. As an interesting aside, the authors report a modulation of BOLD signal in the right extrastriate body area (EBA), a cortical region closely related to visual processing of bodies (Downing et al., 2001, Urgesi et al., 2007 and Moro MRIP et al., 2008). This change in activity was contingent upon synchronous versus asynchronous stimulation, suggesting that this region might also be involved in self-identification. In sum, by combining behavioral results with fMRI, Ionta et al. (2011) have been able to empirically and convincingly relate the phenomenological aspects of the induced OBEs and changes of first-person perspective to neural activity in specific cortical regions, namely the left and the right TPJ. The Ionta et al. (2011) study is important because it may open new avenues for the study of full-body self-consciousness and inspire new theoretical and translational research.