The neurological asymmetry of self-face recognition

Aleksandra Janowska, Brianna Balugas, Matthew Pardillo, Victoria Mistretta, Katherine Chavarria, Janet Brenya, Taylor Shelansky, Vanessa Martinez, Kitty Pagano, Nathira Ahmad, Samantha Zorns, Abigail Straus, Sarah Sierra, Julian Paul Keenan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


While the desire to uncover the neural correlates of consciousness has taken numerous directions, self-face recognition has been a constant in attempts to isolate aspects of self-awareness. The neuroimaging revolution of the 1990s brought about systematic attempts to isolate the underlying neural basis of self-face recognition. These studies, including some of the first fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) examinations, revealed a right-hemisphere bias for self-face recognition in a diverse set of regions including the insula, the dorsal frontal lobe, the temporal parietal junction, and the medial temporal cortex. In this systematic review, we provide confirmation of these data (which are correlational) which were provided by TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and patients in which direct inhibition or ablation of right-hemisphere regions leads to a disruption or absence of self-face recognition. These data are consistent with a number of theories including a right-hemisphere dominance for self-awareness and/or a right-hemisphere specialization for identifying significant social relationships, including to oneself.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1135
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Right hemisphere
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-face recognition
  • Symmetry


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