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Mine and me: exploring the neural basis of object ownership

Author(s): D. J. Turk, K. van Bussel, G. D. Waiter, C. N. Macrae

Previous research has shown that encoding information in the context of self-evaluation leads to memory enhancement, supported by activation in ventromedial pFC. Recent evidence suggests that similar self-memory advantages can be obtained under nonevaluative encoding conditions, such as when object ownership is used to evoke self-reference. Using fMRI, the current study explored the neural correlates of object ownership. During scanning, participants sorted everyday objects into self-owned or other-owned categories. Replicating previous research, a significant self-memory advantage for the objects was observed (i.e., self-owned > other-owned). In addition, encoding self-owned items was associated with unique activation in posterior dorsomedial pFC (dMPFC), left insula, and bilateral supramarginal gyri (SMG). Subsequent analysis showed that activation in a subset of these regions (dMPFC and left SMG) correlated with the magnitude of the self-memory advantage. Analysis of the time-to-peak data suggested a temporal model for processing ownership in which initial activation of dMPFC spreads to SMG and insula. These results indicate that a self-memory advantage can be elicited by object ownership and that this effect is underpinned by activity in a neural network that supports attentional, reward, and motor processing.

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ISBN: 1530-8898 (Electronic) 0898-929X (Linking)
Publication Year: 2011
Periodical: J Cogn Neurosci
Periodical Number: 11
Volume: 23
Pages: 3657-68
Author Address: University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK. david.j.turk@abdn.ac.uk