Body and Self Group

Young woman standing alone on lake footbridge and looking at sunrise in grey, misty sky

Members of the Body and Self Group investigate the multisensory representation of the body and the bodily self by using the methods of cognitive neuroscience.

Our interests cover investigations of bodily self-consciousness, tactile perception, peripersonal space, cardiac and gastric interoception, body image, alexithymia and pain.

We also study how bodily self-consciousness varies across development, in autism, in pregnancy, and in some neurological, psychiatric and pain disorders.

The Body and Self Group is part of the ARU Centre for Mind and Behaviour.

We offer a Psychology PhD. We have also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.

For more information, contact Dr Jane Aspell at or Dr Flavia Cardini at


Discover more about our members on their profile pages

Academic staff

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PhD researchers


Dr Jane Aspell (Principal Investigator) and Dr Flavia Cardini (Co-Investigator) have been awarded a Pain Challenge Research Award of £190K from Versus Arthritis to investigate body representations in fibromyalgia, along with co-investigators Dr Mike Lee (University of Cambridge) and Dr Paola Finoia (MRC CBU). We will soon (September 2020) be hiring a postdoctoral research fellow to work on this 3-year project, starting in September. For more information contact Jane Aspell.

An Innovation and Research Award of £57,290 has been awarded to Nikesh Thiruchelvam (PI), Jennifer Todd, Jane Aspell, Michael Lee, Kelly Leonard and Amanda Stranks (co-applicants) by The Urology Foundation. We will be seeking to develop and validate a patient reported outcome measure (a new questionnaire) for the pain related to pelvic mesh implants and their removal.

Matt Gwyther has joined the group as a Research Assistant working on our Bial-funded project.

Jane Aspell (PI) and co-investigators Anna Ciaunica, Bigna Lenggenhager and Jennifer Windt have been awarded a grant of €48,000 by The Bial Foundation for a project entitled "Living in a Dream: Body and self experience during waking and dream states in depersonalisation".

Dr Jennifer Todd has started as a postdoctoral research fellow in the group, working on a project funded by Versus Arthritis.

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Recent publications

Todd, J., Cardellicchio, P., Swami, V., Cardini, F. & Aspell, J.E., 2021. Weaker implicit interoception is associated with more negative body image: Evidence from gastric-alpha phase amplitude coupling and the heartbeat evoked potential. Cortex (in press)

Todd, J., Barron, D., Aspell, J.E., Kheng Lin Toh, E., Syahirah Zahari, H., Azzatunnisak Mohd Khatib, N. & Swami, V., 2021. Examining Relationships between Interoceptive Awareness and Body Image in a non-Western context: A study with Malaysian adults. International Perspectives in Psychology (in press).

Heydrich, L., Walker, F, Blättler, L., Herbelin, B. & Blanke, O. & Aspell, J.E., 2021. Interoception and empathy impact perspective taking. Frontiers in Psychology – Perception Science 11, 4016.

Todd, J., Aspell, J.E., Barron, D., Kheng Lin Toh, E., Syahirah Zahari, H., Azzatunnisak Mohd Khatib, N., Laughton, R. & Swami, V., 2020. Greater Gastric Interoception is Associated with More Positive Body Image: Evidence from Adults in Malaysia and the United Kingdom, Body Image, 34, pp.101-111.

Todd, J., Barron, D., Aspell, J.E., Kheng Lin Toh, E., Syahirah Zahari, H., Azzatunnisak Mohd Khatib, N. & Swami, V., 2020. Translation and Validation of a Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) Version of the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA), PLOS One, 15(4): e0231048.

Todd, J., Hina, F. & Aspell, J.E., (2020) Reduction of auditory input improves performance on the heartbeat tracking task, but does not necessarily enhance interoception. Experimental Brain Research (in press). doi: 10.1007/s00221-020-05740-y

Esfahlani, S.S., Butt, J. and Shirvani, H., 2019. Fusion of artificial intelligence in neuro-rehabilitation video games. IEEE Access, 7, pp.102617-102627.

Esfahlani, S.S., Shirvani, H. and Esfahlani, K.S., 2019, October. Video Game and Fuzzy Logic to Improve Amblyopia and Convergence Insufficiency. In IECON 2019-45th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (Vol. 1, pp.179-185).

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