Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Individuals with mirror touch synaesthesia (MTS) experience touch on their own body when observing others being touched. A recent account proposes that such rare experiences could be linked to impairment in self-other representations. Here we tested participants with MTS on a battery of social cognition tests and found that compared to non-synaesthete controls, the MTS group showed impairment in imitation-inhibition but not in visual perspective taking or theory of mind. Although all of these socio-cognitive abilities rely on the control of self-other representations, they differ as to whether the self, or the other, should be preferentially represented. For imitation-inhibition, representations of the other should be inhibited and self-representations should be enhanced, whereas the opposite is true for visual perspective taking and theory of mind. These findings suggest that MTS is associated with a specific deficit in inhibiting representation of other individuals and shed light on the fractionability of processes underlying typical social cognition.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





116 - 121


Imitation inhibition, Mentalizing, Mirror-touch synaesthesia, Perspective taking, Self-other, Social cognition, Synaesthesia, Adult, Cognition, Ego, Female, Humans, Imitative Behavior, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Perceptual Disorders, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Social Behavior, Social Environment, Theory of Mind, Touch Perception