Motor simulation and the bodily self

Francesca Ferri, Francesca Frassinetti, Marcello Costantini, Vittorio Gallese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies demonstrated the human ability to implicitly recognize their own body. When submitted to a visual matching task, participants showed the so-called self-advantage, that is, a better performance with self rather than others' body or body parts. Here, we investigated whether the body self-advantage relies upon a motor representation of one's body. Participants were submitted to a laterality judgment of self and others' hands (Experiment 1 and 3), which involves a sensory-motor mental simulation. Moreover, to investigate whether the self-advantage emerges also when an explicit self processing is required, the same participants were submitted to an explicit self-body recognition task (Experiment 2). Participants showed the self-advantage when performing the laterality judgment, but not when self-recognition was explicitly required. Thus, implicit and explicit recognition of the bodily self dissociate and only an implicit recognition of the bodily self, mapped in motor terms, allows the self-advantage to emerge.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17927
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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