cognitive neuroscience

Consciousness Research - U. of Arizona

I discovered another amazing center for research into consciousness. I have high hopes for this organization in terms of understanding the biological underpinnings of Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. I will adding this to my links section as another valuable resource.

Center For Consciousness Studies -- The University of Arizona
Promoting open, rigorous discussion of all phenomena related to conscious experience


The study of human consciousness is one of science's last great frontiers. After being neglected for many years (i.e. during a period of dominance by behaviorism in psychology), interest in the science of consciousness exploded in the last decades, with much progress in neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and other areas.

The University of Arizona has been at the center of these developments. The 1994 Tucson conference on "Toward a Science of Consciousness" is widely regarded as a landmark event, and the subsequent series of biennial conferences in Tucson have attracted extraordinary interest.

The Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona was formed in 1998 with a seed grant from the Fetzer Institute. The Center is a unique institution whose aim is to bring together the perspectives of philosophy, the cognitive sciences, neuroscience, the social sciences, medicine, and the physical sciences, the arts and humanities, to move toward an integrated understanding of human consciousness.

The Center is unique in its broad spectrum approach. Other groups tend focus either on cognitive neuroscience, philosophy or purely phenomenal experiential approaches, whereas the Center not only integrates these areas, but "thinks outside the box" of conventional wisdom which has thus far, at least, failed to make significant breakthroughs. The Center has also inspired other groups such as the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness and those who organize other conferences.

"How Do You Feel When You Can't Feel Your Body?"

Current Research -- Cognitive Neuroscience

How Do You Feel when You Can't Feel Your Body? Interoception, Functional Connectivity and Emotional Processing in Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder
Published: June 26, 2014
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098769
Link To Multiple Authors

“Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder (DD) typically manifests as a disruption of body self-awareness. Interoception −defined as the cognitive processing of body signals− has been extensively considered as a key processing for body self-awareness.

In consequence, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether there are systematic differences in interoception between a patient with DD and controls that might explain the disembodiment symptoms suffered in this disease.

To assess interoception, we utilized a heartbeat detection task and measures of functional connectivity derived from fMRI networks in interoceptive/exteroceptivo/mind-wanderi ngstates. Additionally, we evaluated empathic abilities to test the association between interoception and emotional experience.

The results showed patient's impaired performance in the heartbeat detection task when compared to controls. Furthermore, regarding functional connectivity, we found a lower global brain connectivity of the patient relative to controls only in the interoceptive state. He also presented a particular pattern of impairments in affective empathy.

To our knowledge, this is the first experimental research that assesses the relationship between interoception and DD combining behavioral and neurobiological measures. Our results suggest that altered neural mechanisms and cognitive processes regarding body signaling might be engaged in DD phenomenology. Moreover, our study contributes experimental data to the comprehension of brain-body interactions and the emergence of self-awareness and emotional feelings.”

See Full Article Here