Saturday, April 3, 2010

Body Image and Body Schema

Most of neuroscientists uses the term 'Body Image' and 'Body Schema' indiscriminatingly. But it is important to make clear the difference between them, as is pointed out by Shaun Gallagher.

Body image is the image represented in the mind. It is objectified by the consciousness. We perceive our body, we think about our body, we feel our body as object. And we not only experience our body as an object but also as something belonging to ourselves (the body as my own body). The body image is a source of the sense of body ownership.

In contrast, the body schema is the subject-body and never owned. The sense of motor agency seems to have its origin in body schema but basically its function is anonymous. The body schema works under the conscious reflexion and doesn't have any personhood. It functions unconsciously.