Atypical bodily self-awareness in vicarious pain responders

Bowling, Natalie C., Botan, Vanessa, Santiesteban, Idalmis , Ward, Jamie and Banissy, Michael J. (2019) Atypical bodily self-awareness in vicarious pain responders. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374 (1787). p. 20180361. ISSN 0962-8436

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Vicarious perception refers to the ability to co-represent the experiences of others. Prior research has shown considerable inter-individual variability in vicarious perception of pain, with some experiencing conscious sensations of pain on their own body when viewing another person in pain (conscious vicarious perception/mirror-pain synaesthesia). Self–Other Theory proposes that this conscious vicarious perception may result from impairments in self–other distinction and maintaining a coherent sense of bodily self. In support of this, individuals who experience conscious vicarious perception are more susceptible to illusions of body ownership and agency. However, little work has assessed whether trait differences in bodily self-awareness are associated with conscious vicarious pain. Here we addressed this gap by examining individual difference factors related to awareness of the body, in conscious vicarious pain responders. Increased self-reported depersonalization and interoceptive sensibility was found for conscious vicarious pain responders compared with non-responders, in addition to more internally oriented thinking (associated with lower alexithymia). There were no significant differences in trait anxiety. Results indicate that maintaining a stable sense of the bodily self may be important for vicarious perception of pain, and that vicarious perception might also be enhanced by attention towards internal bodily states.

Keywords:interoception, anxiety, depersonalization, vicarious pain, bodily self-awareness, alexithymia
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B140 Neuroscience
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:42084
Deposited On:08 Sep 2020 08:39

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