September 22, 2017

The Plastic Self


We normally entertain a fairly continuous and stable sense of personal identity, as we acknowledge that we are the same person, independently of what happens to us. The question of how our self is being maintained or changed across time is a key topic in psychology. Our self must possess sufficient plasticity to ensure assimilation of changes and a sense of continuity. The processes that balance plasticity and continuity are particularly relevant for modern selves who, due to technological and medical advances, seem to be exposed to new, often radical, possibilities of change. We will address two key, yet unexplored, questions of the plasticity of the self in two parallel projects. First, we ask how the experience of a changing body updates or alters our sense of self. Second, we ask how changes in one’s body-representation can, in turn, change the way the self perceives other people.