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Conscience de soi et contact interindividuel : études en électrophysiologie et magnétoencéphalographie

Abstract : Situations of interpersonal contact could contribute to the construction of a basic sense of self during childhood and to self-representations through lifespan. Although this hypothesis is widespread in the literature, the effect of social contact on self-awareness has been rarely been investigated experimentally. The aim of this PhD thesis is to investigate such an effect in human adults. In two studies combining electrophysiological measurements and behavioural responses, we show an enhancement of a minimal form of self-awareness – i.e. of the afferent information arising from the body – following social contact. This is reproduced across three sensory modalities (visual, auditory and tactile social contact). In a third study, we use magnetoencephalography to test the effect of an increased (vs reduced) multisensory interpersonal contact context between an experimenter and participants, on the functional connectivity of resting-state networks and on the participants’ thought contents. Our results revealed an enhancement of self-oriented cognitive and brain processes in a highly integrated form, associated to a decrease in externally oriented sensory processes, as a result of the social context of increased interpersonal contact. Together, our results suggest that social contact enhances multiple facets of self-representation, including basic bodily aspects of a minimal self, as well as higher level and integrated aspects of a narrative self. Our social interactions throughout lifespan may thus induce a cerebral and cognitive context centred on a multifaceted self, which would foster self-awareness and the construction of an embodied and embedded sense of identity.
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Nesrine Hazem. Conscience de soi et contact interindividuel : études en électrophysiologie et magnétoencéphalographie. Sciences cognitives. Sorbonne Université, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018SORUS087⟩. ⟨tel-02355718⟩

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