Losing and finding the self in the brain

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Our personal identity depends on a fully functioning brain - what could happen when it malfunctions? Dr Jane Aspell, Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Anglia Ruskin University, will discuss rare neurological and psychiatric disorders of self. She will present case studies of people with depersonalisation disorder, who feel estranged from their own selves and bodies, as though they are 'living in a dream'. She will also describe experiences of people with xenomelia, who 'disown' and feel hatred for one of their limbs, and contrast these with others, who experience pain in a limb which no longer exists. The talk will reveal how recent scientific research into these intriguing but distressing disorders can uncover surprising truths about how the brain generates our sense of self.

Dr Jane Aspell is Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Anglia Ruskin University. She is Head of the Self and Body Lab. Her research investigates how the brain generates our sense of self. She holds a BA in Biological Sciences from Oxford University and a PhD in Neuroscience from Newcastle University.

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