The Conscious Representation of Ones Own Body

The conscious image of one's own body is not necessarily a faithful replication of its actual structure and configuration, nor can deviations from reality be explained as resurrections of a prefigured image of one's body as it should be. It is rather like a fleeting reconstruction aimed at integrating afferences from vision, proprioception, and monitoring of motor commands into a coherent spatial structure. Temporal coherence seems to be a major clue for inferring spatial coherence, and synchronous sensations are assumed to stem from the same location. If synchronous sensations carry different spatial information, the brain uses heuristics for weighting them. Generally, propriocep-tion is assimilated to vision. The subordination of proprioception to vision contrasts with the dominant role of proprioception in body perception for motor control. Monitoring of motor commands resists visual capture but cannot liberate proprioception from being subdued. The conflict between motor commands and vision is therefore experienced as opposing motor commands to proprioception of motor execution.

The construction of a conscious representation of one's own body seems to depend on integrity of the inferior parietal lobes, thus clearly differing from the neural basis of body perception for motor control. Each parietal lobe entertains an image of only the opposite half of the body. The splitting of the neural basis of conscious body representation contrasts with the feeling of a seamless corporal unity.

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