ESTRANGED FROM ONESELF, ESTRANGED FROM THE OTHERS – INVESTIGATING THE FEELING OF DEPERSONALISATION ON SELF-OTHER MIRRORING
When I walk, when I sing, when I fall and feel pain in my arm, I am immediately aware of my emotions and bodily feelings as my own. Bodily self-awareness, the feeling that our subjective experiences are bound to a “real me” or “self” inside my body is a key feature of the human mind. But what happens when the “me” inside gets disconnected from its bodily roots?
Disembodiment is a fascinating and intriguing phenomenon, typically manifesting as a disruption of bodily self-awareness which induces a disturbing feeling of self-detachment or “depersonalisation”. Estrangement from one’s bodily self and one’s physical and social environment triggers persistent and highly distressing feelings of alienation. Depersonalization and self-detachment are the third most common psychological and psychiatric symptoms (after anxiety and low mood) following severe stress, traumatic life events or drug use, especially amongst young people. Yet, despite its high prevalence in the general population, the impact of this phenomenon is still poorly understood and relatively understudied.
The overarching goal of our project is to explore the relationship between (dis)embodiment, self-consciousness and social isolation. A better understanding of the impact of this disconnectedness from one’s bodily self on the mirroring of others’ emotions could help to develop better theoretical, empirical and interventional tools in order to address the crucial and urgent challenges raised by DP, which is a source of great distress for those who experience it. The expected scientific outputs of this project will thus have far-reaching consequences not only for philosophy of mind, but also social cognition, psychophysiology and psychopathology
Anna Ciaunica (FLUP / Instituto de Filosofia)