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the embodied self

Susan Gordon

pp. 115-148

This chapter introduces a psychoneurointracrine model of the embodied self and examines the interrelationship between psychological, neurological, and intracrinological processes forming a mind-brain continuum within the person. Psycho (psychological) refers to constructs variously referred to as psyche, self, soul, mind, and consciousness. Neuro (neurological) refers to the composition and reactions within the nervous system. Intracrine (intracrinological) refers to the intracellular biosynthesis of steroids, the binding of receptors, and the formation of enzymes that catalyze the creation of hormones within the cell. It is argued that self has neural correlates in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axes of the body, which are responsible for enactive engagement and the development of meaning through their connections to the higher-order functions of the brain. Two theories of enactive cognition explore this hypothesis: (1) the theory of psychoneurointracrine autopoiesis examines how the regulation of a steroid's receptor is modulated by the person's perception of experience, and (2) the theory of emergent global states explains how corticolimbic projections from the HPG-HPA axes integrate prereflective, autonomic, and subliminal experience in the development of meaning and emergence of self. This model depicts the growth-oriented dimension of the person or neurophenomenological self.

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Full citation:

Gordon, S. (2013)., Psychoneurointracrinology: the embodied self, in S. Gordon (ed.), Neurophenomenology and its applications to psychology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 115-148.

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