Anil Ananthaswamy writes about research on out-of-body experiences (OBE): “scans revealed that their sense of being out-of-body was correlated with activity in the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), a site that integrates touch, vision, proprioception, and vestibular signals. Here was some objective evidence that the TPJ is involved in the sense of self-location – where you perceive yourself to be.”

And: “patients who have reported heautoscopic hallucinations [a particularly intense doppelganger effect] typically show damage to the left posterior insula and adjacent cortical areas. Given that heautoscopic hallucinations involve emotions, it’s revealing that the insular cortex is implicated. The insula is the hub that integrates visual, auditory, sensory, motor, proprioceptive, and vestibular signals with signals from the viscera. It’s the brain region where the body’s states seem to be represented and the representations are eventually manifested as subjective feelings, giving rise to the perception of a bodily self.”

Philosopher Thomas Metzinger “argues that this feeling of being embodied comes before everything else. The next step in the process is when this primitive selfhood, turns into selfhood as subjectivity. “If you not only feel that you are in that body, but if you can control your attention, and attend to the body, that’s a stronger form of selfhood,” said Metzinger. “Then you are something that has a perspective, something that is directed at the world, and something that can be directed at itself. That is more than mere embodiment.” One idea is that minimal phenomenal self may also act as a thread through our autobiographical memories, helping us to build a narrative through our own life story”.