The integrative self: How self-reference integrates perception and memory

Jie Sui* (Corresponding Author), Glyn W. Humphreys* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

305 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a new account of how self-reference affects information processing. We report evidence that self-reference affects the binding of memory to source, the integration of parts into perceptual wholes, and the ability to switch from a prior association to new associations. Self-reference also influences the integration of different stages of processing, linking attention to decision making, and affects the coupling between brain regions mediating self-representation and attention to the environment. Taken together, the data suggest that self-reference acts as a form of ‘integrative glue’ which can either enhance or disrupt performance, depending on the task context. We discuss the implications for understanding the self, and future directions for research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-728
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number12
Early online date4 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by an Advanced Investigator grant from the European Research Council (Pepe: 323883), a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK, ES/J001597/1) and by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Project 31371017).


  • Self-reference
  • Perception
  • memory
  • Decision making


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