The “I,” the ego, the self. These terms are used loosely to describe the individual life-force each of us is always searching for, but seems intent on remaining so elusive. According to a new study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, scientists claim to have discovered the general location of the self within the body, subjectively speaking, at least.
Psychologists Adrian Alsmith of the University of Copenhagen and Matthew Longo of the University of London asked 10 people in blindfolds to use a pointer to show “where exactly am I?” Interestingly, participants most frequently pointed to one of two regions: the upper face or the upper torso, or chest area when answering the existential question. It sounds like a silly little elementary school exercise, but researchers think the results are significant because they suggest that the experience of the self is not spread out across body, nor is it designated to any single point. “The torso is, so to speak, the great continent of the body, relative to which all other body parts are mere peninsulas. Where the torso goes, the body follows,” explained the researchers.
It sounds like metaphysical poetry, but makes sense when you think of the adage “follow your heart.” Not that this makes “finding yourself” any less grueling. [Slate]