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Title: Self-other processes in social cognition
Author: Santiesteban, Idalmis
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 1998
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis aimed to investigate self-other processes in social cognition. Contrary to the traditional approach of focusing on self-other processes within the confines of a single domain, this thesis highlights the prominent role of these processes across different socio-cognitive domains. Three main empirical questions form the basis of the research reported here. The first is concerned with the extent to which self-other representations are shared across three different socio-cognitive abilities: the control of imitation, theory of mind, and visual perspective taking. The second relates to the neural underpinnings of self-other representations, in particular, the role of the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) during socio-cognitive processing. The third question examines the role of culture as a modulatory factor of self-other processes. The findings from Experiment 1, 3 and 4 showed a relationship between the control of imitation and visual perspective taking. This relationship seems to rely on the online control of co-activated self-other representations, which at the neural level are mediated by the TPJ (bilaterally). In Experiment 2 it was found that individuals with mirror-touch synaesthesia are impaired in the control of imitation but their performance on visual perspective taking and theory of mind is comparable with non-synaesthetes. It is hypothesised that atypical self-other processes in mirror-touch synaesthesia might be confined to situations in which representations of the ‘other’ should be inhibited, but not when they should be enhanced. Experiment 5 showed that acculturation strategies adopted by migrants modulate their imitative behaviour towards a member of the heritage vs. a member of the host culture. The diverse nature of the studies reported in this thesis shows the complexity of self-other processes in social cognition. Taken together, these findings demonstrate how adopting a wider approach to the investigation of self-other processes contributes towards a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying socio-cognitive abilities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available