The neuroscience of body memory

Recent findings and conceptual advances


  • Claudia Repetto Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Gemelli, 1, 20121 Milan, Italy. Tel: + 39 02 7234 2585. E-mail:
  • Giuseppe Riva Humane Technology Lab, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy; Applied Technology for Neuropsychology Lab, Istituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCS, Milan, Italy



body representation, body memory, body matrix, advanced technologies, interoception, bodily illusions


The body is a very special object, as it corresponds to the physical component of the self and it is the medium through which we interact with the world. Our body awareness includes the mental representation of the body that happens to be our own, and traditionally has been defined in terms of body schema and body image. Starting from the distinction between these two types of representations, the present paper tries to reconcile the literature around body representations under the common framework of body memory. The body memory develops ontogenetically from birth and across all the life span and is directly linked to the development of the self. Therefore, our sense of self and identity is fundamentally based on multisensory knowledge accumulated in body memory, so that the sensations collected by our body, stored as implicit memory, can unfold in the future, under suitable circumstances. Indeed, these sets of bodily information had been proposed as possible key factors underpinning several mental health illnesses. Following this perspective, the Embodied Medicine approach put forward the use of advanced technologies to alter the dysfunctional body memory to enhance people’s well-being. In the last sections, recent experimental pieces of evidence will be illustrated that targeted specifically bodily information for increasing health and wellbeing, by means of two strategies: interoceptive feedback and bodily illusions.



How to Cite

Repetto, C., & Riva, G. (2023). The neuroscience of body memory: Recent findings and conceptual advances. EXCLI Journal, 22, 191–206.



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