ERC Starting Grant 2020
Body memory is the sum of all past bodily experiences that are stored in memory and influence behavior. Body memories influence our daily life, for example when we remember injuries, accidents, or moments of bodily comfort, and they affect mental health, for example when they cause somatic symptoms, depression, or anxiety. Scientific knowledge on the neuroanatomical pathways and neuronal mechanisms that underlie human body memory is scarce. In this research project, I will combine my own knowledge and experience in ultra-high field imaging, topographic mapping, psychophysics, and embodiment with recent innovations in episodic memory research and virtual reality to understand the neuronal mechanisms that underlie human body memory and how we can use this knowledge to treat psychosomatic symptoms triggered by maladaptive body memories. The research projects will use state-of-the-art scientific tools and methods to gain basic and applied insights into a novel and far reaching research field with the final goal to develop novel technological interventions that change stored body memories.