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The Seven Selves of Dementia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Iris Bomilcar, Elodie Bertrand, Robin G. Morris, Daniel C. Mograbi

Original languageEnglish
Article number646050
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Published14 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: DM acknowledged funding from CNPq (#311083/2020-0), CAPES, and FAPERJ (#246815). RM acknowledged funding from KCL. Publisher Copyright: © Copyright © 2021 Bomilcar, Bertrand, Morris and Mograbi. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


The self is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, encompassing a variety of cognitive processes and psychosocial influences. Considering this, there is a multiplicity of “selves,” the current review suggesting that seven fundamental self-processes can be identified that further our understanding of the experience of dementia. These include (1) an embodied self, manifest as corporeal awareness; (2) an agentic self, related to being an agent and influencing life circumstances; (3) an implicit self, linked to non-conscious self-processing; (4) a critical self, which defines the core of self-identity; (5) a surrogate self, based on third-person perspective information; (6) an extended self, including external objects or existences that are incorporated into the self; and, finally, (7) an emergent self, a property of the self-processes that give rise to the sense of a unified self. These are discussed in relation to self-awareness and their use in making sense of the experience of dementia.

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