Skip navigation

Atypical bodily self-awareness in vicarious pain responders

Atypical bodily self-awareness in vicarious pain responders

Bowling, Natalie C. ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-3664, Botan, Vanessa, Santiesteban, Idalmis, Ward, Jamie and Banissy, Michael J. (2019) Atypical bodily self-awareness in vicarious pain responders. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374 (1787):20180361. pp. 1-12. ISSN 0962-8436 (Print), 1471-2970 (Online) (doi:

PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript)
28137 BOWLING_Atypical_Bodily_Self-Awareness_in_Vicarious_Pain_Responders_(AAM)_2019.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (460kB) | Preview


Vicarious perception refers to the ability to co-represent the experiences of others. Prior research has shown considerable inter-individual variability in vicarious perception of pain, with some experiencing conscious sensations of pain on their own body when viewing another person in pain (conscious vicarious perception / mirror-pain synaesthesia). Self-Other Theory proposes that this conscious vicarious perception may result from impairments in self-other distinction and maintaining a coherent sense of bodily self. In support of this, individuals who experience conscious vicarious perception are more susceptible to illusions of body ownership and agency. However, little work has assessed whether trait differences in bodily self-awareness are associated with conscious vicarious pain. Here we addressed this gap by examining individual difference factors related to awareness of the body, in conscious vicarious pain responders. Increased self-reported depersonalisation and interoceptive sensibility was found for conscious vicarious pain responders compared with non-responders, in addition to more internally-oriented thinking (associated with lower alexithymia). There were no significant differences in trait anxiety. Results indicate that maintaining a stable sense of the bodily self may be important for vicarious perception of pain, and that vicarious perception might also be enhanced by attention towards internal bodily states.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alexithymia, anxiety, depersonalisation, vicarious pain, interoception, bodily self-awareness
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 18 May 2020 11:21

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics