From visceral inputs to first-person perspective: how the brain coordinates sensory and cognitive maps

Neural information is expressed in different frames of reference. For instance, gaze-centered, head-centered and limb-centered frames of references have to be coordinated for visually-guided action. Coordination is also required between the more abstract spaces of cognitive maps. Still, despite the multiplicity of frames of reference, conscious experience is characterized by a single, unified viewpoint – or first-person perspective. I present here a novel hypothesis to generate first-person perspective: multiple reference frames are coordinated by the neural monitoring of visceral inputs, that act as a unifying central point, internal to the organism. This hypothesis is backed up by experimental data on brain-viscera coupling in different paradigms tapping onto subjective perception and cognition.