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.


Discover more about our members on their profile pages.

Associated members

PhD researchers

Find out more about our Psychology PhD. We have also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate 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.

We welcome new PhD researcher, Utkarsh Gupta, who has recently joined our group. The working title for his thesis is 'Investigating relationships between autobiographical memory and bodily self-consciousness: behavioural evidence and neural mechanisms'.

Dr Jane Aspell's research was profiled in a feature article on 'The Shattered Self' in The British Psychology Society magazine The Psychologist.

Watch a recent interview on YouTube between Dr Shabnam Sadeghi-Esfahlani and The Science and Information (SAI) Organisation about her study investigating the use of serious games as a non-immersive virtual reality rehabilitation system 'ReHabgame', targeting motor impaired (post-stroke) casualties.

Out of body illusion can tackle chronic pain – paper by Dr James Pamment and Dr Jane Aspell in the European Journal of Pain. See video below:

New and recent publications

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). IEEE.

Recent and upcoming talks and events

Dr Jane Aspell will give a talk entitled 'My Self and my Brain' at the Cambridge Science Festival on the 18 March 2020. Book your place here: