The self is central in our experience and has often been assumed to be necessary for any kind of consciousness in philosophy. Recent investigations in neuroscience demonstrate a particular set of regions such as the cortical midline regions to be associated with the processing of stimuli specifically related to the self as distinguished from those remaining unrelated to the self. Furthermore, findings show a close overlap between self-related activity and high levels of resting state activity in especially anterior midline regions. Interestingly, recent findings in psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia show resting state abnormalities in exactly these regions, that is in the cortical midline structures. Based on phenomenal and neural observations, I here suggest a neurophenomenal approach that directly links neuronal and phenomenal features (without sandwiching cognitive or sensorimotor functions) to psychopathological symptoms of self in depression and schizophrenia.

Northoff G: Gene, brains, and environment-genetic neuroimaging of depression. Curr Opin Neurobiol 2013;23:133-142.
Northoff G: What the brain's intrinsic activity can tell us about consciousness. A tri-dimensional view. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2013;37:726-738.
Northoff G: Self and brain: what is self-related processing? Trends Cogn Sci 2011;15:186-187.
Northoff G: Unlocking the brain. Vol I, Coding. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.
Northoff G: Unlocking the brain. Vol II, Consciousness. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.
De Greck M, Enzi B, Prosch U, Gantman A, Tempelmann C, Northoff G: Decreased neuronal activity in reward circuitry of pathological gamblers during processing of personal relevant stimuli. Hum Brain Mapp 2010;31:1802-1812.
De Greck M, Supady A, Thiemann R, Tempelmann C, Bogerts B, Forschner L, Ploetz KV, Northoff G: Decreased neural activity in reward circuitry during personal reference in abstinent alcoholics - an fMRI study. Hum Brain Mapp 2009;30:1691-1704.
Doering S, Burgmer M, Heuft G, Menke D, Baumer B, Lubking M, Feldmann M, Schneider G: Assessment of personality functioning: validity of the operationalized psychodynamic diagnosis axis IV (structure). Psychopathology 2014;47:185-193.
Northoff G, Heinzel A, de Greck M, Bermpohl F, Dobrowolny H, Panksepp J: Self-referential processing in our brain - a meta-analysis of imaging studies on the self. Neuroimage 2006;31:440-457.
Christoff K, Cosmelli D, Legrand D, Thompson E: Specifying the self for cognitive neuroscience. Trends Cogn Sci 2011;15:104-112.
Gillihan SJ, Farah MJ: Is self special? A critical review of evidence from experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Psychol Bull 2005;131:76-97.
Legrand D, Ruby P: What is self-specific? Theoretical investigation and critical review of neuroimaging results. Psychol Rev 2009;116:252-282.
Northoff G, Wiebking C, Feinberg T, Panksepp J: The ‘resting-state hypothesis' of major depressive disorder - a translational subcortical-cortical framework for a system disorder. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2011;35:1929-1945.
Feinberg TE: From Axons to Identity: Neurological Explorations of the Nature of the Self. Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). New York, Norton & Co, 2009.
Feinberg TE: Neuropathologies of the self: clinical and anatomical features. Conscious Cogn 2011;20:75-81.
Feinberg TE, Venneri A, Simone AM, Fan Y, Northoff G: The neuroanatomy of asomatognosia and somatoparaphrenia. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2010;81:276-281.
Hasler G, Northoff G: Discovering imaging endophenotypes for major depression. Mol Psychiatry 2011;16:604-619.
Kuhn S, Gallinat J: Resting-state brain activity in schizophrenia and major depression: a quantitative meta-analysis. Schizophr Bull 2013;39:358-365.
Northoff G: Philosophy of the Brain. Amsterdam, John Benjamins Publishers, 2004.
Treynor W, Gonzalez R, Nolen-Hoeksema S: Rumination reconsidered: a psychometric analysis. Cogn Ther Res 2003;27:247-259.
Northoff G: Psychopathology and pathophysiology of the self in depression - neuropsychiatric hypothesis. J Affect Disord 2007;104:1-14.
Ingram RE: Self-focused attention in clinical disorders: review and a conceptual model. Psychol Bull 1990;107:156-176.
Wiebking C, Bauer A, de Greck M, Duncan NW, Tempelmann C, Northoff G: Abnormal body perception and neural activity in the insula in depression: an fMRI study of the depressed ‘material me'. World J Biol Psychiatry 2010;11:538-549.
Grunebaum MF, Keilp J, Li S, Ellis SP, Burke AK, Oquendo MA, Mann JJ: Symptom components of standard depression scales and past suicidal behavior. J Affect Disord 2005;87:73-82.
Alcaro A, Panksepp J, Witczak J, Hayes DJ, Northoff G: Is subcortical-cortical midline activity in depression mediated by glutamate and GABA? A cross-species translational approach. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2010;34:592-605.
Mayberg H: Depression. II. Localization of pathophysiology. Am J Psychiatry 2002;159:1979.
Mayberg HS: Modulating dysfunctional limbic-cortical circuits in depression: towards development of brain-based algorithms for diagnosis and optimised treatment. Br Med Bull 2003;65:193-207.
Mayberg HS: Targeted electrode-based modulation of neural circuits for depression. J Clin Invest 2009;119:717-725.
Phillips ML, Drevets WC, Rauch SL, Lane R: Neurobiology of emotion perception. II. Implications for major psychiatric disorders. Biol Psychiatry 2003;54:515-528.
Price JL, Drevets WC: Neurocircuitry of mood disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology 2010;35:192-216.
Fitzgerald PB, Oxley TJ, Laird AR, Kulkarni J, Egan GF, Daskalakis ZJ: An analysis of functional neuroimaging studies of dorsolateral prefrontal cortical activity in depression. Psychiatry Res 2006;148:33-45.
Savitz J, Drevets WC: Bipolar and major depressive disorder: neuroimaging the developmental-degenerative divide. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2009;33:699-771.
Savitz JB, Drevets WC: Imaging phenotypes of major depressive disorder: genetic correlates. Neuroscience 2009;164:300-330.
Phillips ML: Understanding the neurobiology of emotion perception: implications for psychiatry. Br J Psychiatry 2003;182:190-192.
Lemogne C, Delaveau P, Freton M, Guionnet S, Fossati P: Medial prefrontal cortex and the self in major depression. J Affect Disord 2012;136:e1-e11.
Grimm S, Ernst J, Boesiger P, Schuepbach D, Boeker H, Northoff G: Reduced negative bold responses in the default-mode network and increased self-focus in depression. World J Biol Psychiatry 2011;12:627-637.
Grimm S, Ernst J, Boesiger P, Schuepbach D, Hell D, Boeker H, Northoff G: Increased self-focus in major depressive disorder is related to neural abnormalities in subcortical-cortical midline structures. Hum Brain Mapp 2009;30:2617-2627.
Lemogne C, Bergouignan L, Piolino P, Jouvent R, Allilaire JF, Fossati P: Cognitive avoidance of intrusive memories and autobiographical memory: specificity, autonoetic consciousness, and self-perspective. Memory 2009;17:1-7.
Lemogne C, le Bastard G, Mayberg H, Volle E, Bergouignan L, Lehericy S, Allilaire JF, Fossati P: In search of the depressive self: extended medial prefrontal network during self-referential processing in major depression. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2009;4:305-312.
Lemogne C, Mayberg H, Bergouignan L, Volle E, Delaveau P, Lehericy S, Allilaire JF, Fossati P: Self-referential processing and the prefrontal cortex over the course of depression: a pilot study. J Affect Disord 2010;124:196-201.
Kraepelin E: Ein Lehrbuch für Studierende und Ärzte. Leipzig, Barth, 1913.
Bleuler E: Dementia praecox or the group of schizophrenias (in Spanish). Vertex 2010;21:394-400.
Berze J: Die primäre Insuffizienz der psychischen Aktivität. Leipzig, Deuticke, 1914.
Jaspers K: General Psychopathology. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1964.
Parnas J: Self and schizophrenia: a phenomenological perspective; in Kircher T, David AS (eds): The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp 217-241.
Parnas J, Vianin P, Saebye D, Jansson L, Volmer-Larsen A, Bovet P: Visual binding abilities in the initial and advanced stages of schizophrenia. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2001;103:171-180.
Sass LA, Parnas J: Schizophrenia, consciousness, and the self. Schizophr Bull 2003;29:427-444.
Whitfield-Gabrieli S, Thermenos HW, Milanovic S, Tsuang MT, Faraone SV, McCarley RW, Shenton ME, Green AI, Nieto-Castanon A, Laviolette P, Wojcik J, Gabrieli JD, Seidman LJ: Hyperactivity and hyperconnectivity of the default network in schizophrenia and in first-degree relatives of persons with schizophrenia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2009;106:1279-1284.
Pomarol-Clotet E, Salvador R, Sarro S, Gomar J, Vila F, Martinez A, Guerrero A, Ortiz-Gil J, Sans-Sansa B, Capdevila A, Cebamanos JM, McKenna PJ: Failure to deactivate in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia: dysfunction of the default mode network? Psychol Med 2008;38:1185-1193.
Mannell MV, Franco AR, Calhoun VD, Canive JM, Thoma RJ, Mayer AR: Resting state and task-induced deactivation: a methodological comparison in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. Hum Brain Mapp 2010;31:424-437.
Calhoun VD, Maciejewski PK, Pearlson GD, Kiehl KA: Temporal lobe and ‘default' hemodynamic brain modes discriminate between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Hum Brain Mapp 2008;29:1265-1275.
Jafri MJ, Pearlson GD, Stevens M, Calhoun VD: A method for functional network connectivity among spatially independent resting-state components in schizophrenia. Neuroimage 2008;39:1666-1681.
Park IG, Kim JJ, Chun J, Jung YC, Seok JH, Park HJ, Lee JD: ‘Medial prefrontal default-mode hypoactivity affecting trait physical anhedonia in schizophrenia'. Psychiatr Res 2009:155-165.
Williamson P: Are anticorrelated networks in the brain relevant to schizophrenia? Schizophr Bull 2007;33:994-1003.
Hoptman MJ, Zuo XN, Butler PD, Javitt DC, D'Angelo D, Mauro CJ, Milham MP: Amplitude of low-frequency oscillations in schizophrenia: a resting state fMRI study. Schizophr Res 2010;117:13-20.
Rotarska-Jagiela A, van de Ven V, Oertel-Knöchel V, Uhlhaas PJ, Vogeley K, Linden DE: Resting-state functional network correlates of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res 2010;117:21-30.
Holt DJ, Cassidy BS, Andrews-Hanna JR, Lee SM, Coombs G, Goff DC, Gabrieli JD, Moran JM: An anterior-to-posterior shift in midline cortical activity in schizophrenia during self-reflection. Biol Psychiatry 2011;69:415-423.
Taylor SF, Welsh RC, Chen AC, Velander AJ, Liberzon I: Medial frontal hyperactivity in reality distortion. Biol Psychiatry 2007;61:1171-1178.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.