Losing one’s sense of self

Losing one’s sense of self: exploring the effects of frontal lobe brain damage

What is our Sense of Self?

We define ourselves in different ways. Our outer self may be viewed in how we interact with the world around us, through our relationships with others and the roles we play in our personal lives and in our work. Our inner self is formed by our personality, our thoughts and emotions, views and beliefs.

An event, injury or disease that affects the frontal lobes of the brain can result in cognitive impairments. These changes can happen suddenly and may be life changing. Those with frontal lobe injury often report that their personality and social interactions have changed as a result of the injury. These changes are not well understood medically.

Project Aim

Losing one’s sense of self: exploring the effects of frontal lobe brain damage explores how frontal lobe damage affects a person’s sense of self. Affected individuals find the symptoms very distressing and struggle to communicate their difficulties effectively. Our approach will be to use art as a research tool to help participants to communicate their experience with the possibility of using the acquired knowledge to drive the direction of the medical research.

We are interested to learn how people that have been affected by frontal lobe injury feel the injury may have affected them; how it has changed the way that they relate to others or how others perceive them and how this might have changed their perception of themselves.

We aim to enable participants to communicate their individual experiences using artistic means. Throughout the study, we will guide participants through a series creative interview and group activity sessions that will allow them to express their personal perspectives through the use of object and image making.

The project team will review and interpret these outcomes to determine whether this process can:

  • Help affected individuals to communicate their experiences more effectively
  • Enhance the research team and health practitioners’ understanding of the symptoms of frontal lobe injury that are most important to affected individuals
  • Enhance the general public’s understanding of, and empathy for these individual
    Key themes will be identified for dissemination to a wider audience. Using the materials created by the participants alongside pertinent scientific information from the (Finnerty, Bennett) lab, we will create an exhibition to be presented as part of a showcase planned by the Cultural Institute at King’s College London.

    Project Team

    Losing one’s sense of self: exploring the effects of frontal lobe brain damage is a collaboration between Ms Sophie Bennett and Dr Gerald Finnerty based at King’s College London’s Department of Basic & Clinical Neuroscience, Iris Musel of Limbic Productions and Isla Millar, brokered and supported by the Cultural Institute at King’s.

    More information can be found on the KCL website