One brain, two selves

A A T S Reinders, E R S Nijenhuis, A M J Paans, J Korf, A T M Willemsen, J A den Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Citations (Scopus)


Having a sense of self is an explicit and high-level functional specialization of the human brain. The anatomical localization of self-awareness and the brain mechanisms involved in consciousness were investigated by functional neuroimaging different emotional mental states of core consciousness in patients with Multiple Personality Disorder (i.e., Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)). We demonstrate specific changes in localized brain activity consistent with their ability to generate at least two distinct mental states of self-awareness, each with its own access to autobiographical trauma-related memory. Our findings reveal the existence of different regional cerebral blood flow patterns for different senses of self. We present evidence for the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and the posterior associative cortices to have an integral role in conscious experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2119-2125
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • Adult
  • Brain
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Personality Disorder
  • Wounds and Injuries


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