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1 mars 2009
Brain Res
Neural correlates of self-face recognition
Platek S, Wathne K, Tierney NG, Thomson JW
The university of Liverpool
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Recent evidence from neuropsychological patients with focalized lesions and functional brain imaging studies indicate that processing of self is distinguishable from processing of information about others (e.g., recognizing a familiar face). Here, we conduct an effectlocation meta-analysis (Fox et al., 1998) of 9 functional neuroimaging studies of self-face recognition. The evidence provides support for a right-dominated, but largely bilaterally distributed model for self-face processing. Four areas are consistently activated: the left fusiform gyrus, bilateral middle and inferior frontal gyri, and right precuneus. The evidence is interpreted in light of a developing model of self-face recognition as part of a larger social cognitive stream of processing.
That non-human species are able to recognize themselves in a mirror was first shown convincingly by Gallup (1970). Using the now classic mark test, he anesthetized chimpanzees andmarked them with odorless dye. Their subsequent inspection of the marked areaswhile in the presence of a mirror, but not in absence of a mirror, demonstrated that chimpanzees could learn the capacity to recognize theirownmirror self-reflection (Gallup, 1970). Since then, mirror self-recognition has been convincingly demonstrated in bonobos and orangutans (Suarez and Gallup, 1981; Walraven et al., 1995), while reports that gorillas (Patterson and Cohn, 1994), bottlenose dolphins (Reiss and Marino, 2001) and Asian elephants (Plotnik et al., 2006) pass the test are more controversial.
Gallup (1982) suggested that the ability of an animal to recognize itself reveals something important about the way an animal thinks. Gallup postulated that the ability to recognize yourself is essentially the ability to become the object of one's own attention. He hypothesized that this ability led to the capacity for introspection about oneself, and that this is the cognitive foundation of our ability to infer the mental states of others, referred to as theory of mind (see also, Keenan et al., 2003a; 2003b). The model suggests that individuals construct mental models of themselves and use these to infer the mental experiences of others. The species that exhibit mirror self-recognition have interesting commonalities. All but the orangutan live in highly complex social groups (Dunbar, 1998), and in the case of the primates, they have highly developed frontal lobes (Semendeferi et al., 1997a). Gallup (1998) suggested that since the frontal lobes are the most recently evolved part of the brain, they may be a required substrate for the capacity to engage in self-processing.
A distributed self&endash;other network? The frontal lobes are developing rapidly between the first and third years of life (Thatcher 1999; Semendeferi 1999), which is the period in which children are also developing the capacities to represent self and other (see Amsterdam, 1972; Lewis, 2003). This has led to suggestions of a frontal lobe localization theory of self-awareness and theory of mind (Frith and Frith, 1998; Gallup, 1982; Keenan et al., 2000, 2003a, 2003b; Stuss and Anderson, 2004). Additionally, the frontal cortex/prefrontal cortex (PFC) appears to be the most recently evolved portion of the neocortex (Rakic, 1995) and is a highly intricate multimodal information-processing center (Gibson, 2002). Neuropsychologists have known for decades that damage to the PFC in humans (and animals) will produce drastic changes in personality and behavior (Weinberger, 1993). It is interesting to note that among non-human primates, chimpanzees, one of three non-human species who show evidence of selfrecognition and self-awareness, have the most developed frontal cortex (Semendeferi et al., 1997b). In contrast, the gorilla, the outlier species that has not clearly shown evidence for mirror self-recognition or theory of mind, appears to have the least developed frontal lobes (Semendeferi, 1999) and may also be the least lateralized (LeMay and Geschwind, 1975).
The frontal lobes may thus be a necessary substrate for the capacity to engage in self-processing (Gallup, 1998). However, several substrates besides the frontal lobes are involved in self-referential processing. For instance, recent evidence has shown that the inferior parietal lobes and left anterior temporal lobe may also be involved in self-face recognition (Platek et al., 2006). Similarly, the cortical midline structures such as the precuneus and cingulated gyrus appear to be involved in self-referent information processing and discriminating between self- and other-descriptive words/phrases (Fossati et al., 2003, 2004; Kelley et al., 2002; Lou et al., 2004; Macrae et al., 2004; Northoff and Bermpohl, 2004; Seger et al., 2004). The medial parietal lobes, posterior cingulate and precuneus have also been associated with autobiographical memory retrieval (Maddock et al., 2001), engaging in self-generated actions and self-monitoring (Blakemore et al., 1998), self-reference in morphed faces (Platek et al., 2008), and discriminating between theory of mind stories and "physical" stories (Fletcher et al., 1995; see also Vogely et al., 2001). This again suggests a major role for midline cortical structures in the capacity to be self-aware. Keenan et al., (2003a, 2003b) summarize a number of neuropsychological studies, which show both right hemispheric lateralization and localization of self-recognition in the prefrontal cortex (see also Feinberg, 2000). There is also the suggestion that self&endash;other processing is subserved by processes associated with mirroring others' action&emdash;the so-called mirror neuron system (Gallese et al., 2004; Iacoboni, 2004; Decety and Chaminade, 2003), localized to the left inferior frontal lobe and left inferior parietal lobe (see also Uddin et al., 2005).
Investigating self-referential processing continues to be a high priority in social and affective neuroscience. Intrinsic importance attaches to the notion of the self to nearly all cognitive processing. Further interest derives from the hypothesized role of self-referential processing in the development of theory of mind (Gallup, 1982; Keenan et al., 2003a; 2003b). The evidence to support this idea encompasses neuroanatomical and behavioral data from non-human primates, as well as from patient populations (e.g., patients with autism and schizophrenia), in which sufferers are impaired on both selfreferential processing and theory of mind tasks.
The relative importance of the left and right hemisphere has been debated extensively in the literature. While the right hemisphere appears to play a larger role, extensive bilateral activation is clearly present and important. The evidence reviewed here indicates that the brain possesses a relatively encapsulated information-processing system for evaluating self-referential facial stimuli, involving the left fusiform gyrus, bilateral middle and inferior frontal gyri, and right precuneus. These findings are not meant to suggest that these loci constitute a neural module for self-face processing, as each of these substrates is involved in processing other types of information. However, the evidence suggests that these substrates may play an important role in processing self versus other in the facial domain.
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