Unlike other medical disciplines psychiatry can be characterized by the special importance of subjective experience. Since subjective experience is tied to First-Person-Perspective and investigation of the brain is possible only in Third-Person-Perspective, the question how subjective experience can be linked to neuronal processes is raised in psychiatry. We suggest a novel methodological approach, First-Person-Neuroscience where subjective experience can be linked directly and systematically to neuronal processes. Due to complexity of the structures and contents of subjective experience, localization in specific brain regions seems inappropriate. Instead, the interplay and coordination of neuronal activity across several brain regions, so-called neuronal integration, should be considered in First-Person-Neuroscience. This is illustrated by two principles of neuronal integration, top-down modulation and reciprocal modulation, whose abnormal function can be related to subjective experience of patients with catatonia and depression. It is concluded that First-Person-Neuroscience can contribute to reveal abnormal brain function in psychiatric disorders and ultimately to development of diagnostic and therapeutic markers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
Northoff, G., Boeker, H., & Bogerts, B. (2006). Subjektives erleben und neuronale integration im gehirn: Benötigen wir eine erste-person-neurowissenschaft? Fortschritte der Neurologie Psychiatrie, 74(11), 627-633. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2005-915610