The nature of the self has been one of the central problems in philosophy and most recently in neuroscience. Here, we suggest that animals and humans share a 'core self' represented in homologous underlying neural networks. We argue that the core self might be constituted by an integrative neuronal mechanism that enables self-related processing (SRP). Because mammalian organisms are capable of relating bodily states, intrinsic brain states (e.g. basic attentional, emotional and motivational systems) and environmental stimuli to various life-supporting goal-orientations, SRP appears to be a core ability preserved across numerous species. Recent data suggest that SRP is operating via a central integrative neural system made up of subcortical-cortical midline structures (SCMSs), that are homologous across mammalian species.
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