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BSocSci, BA(Honours), MA, PhD

social-cognitive neuroscience; affective neuroscience and neuropsychology 


Dr Sahba Besharati

Sahba Besharati is a Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). She completed a collaborative PhD in neuropsychology from Kings College London and the University of Cape Town (UCT), having previously trained in psychological research and clinical neuropsychology during her MA at UCT. Dr Besharati’s research integrates neuroimaging, neuropsychological and experimental methods to investigate disorders of self-consciousness and awareness following brain damage. She is particularly interested in the recent interdisciplinary approach of a social, cognitive and affective neuroscience.



Social-cognitive neuroscience, affective neuroscience and neuropsychology

My research draws on a social and embodied cognitive approach in the scientific understanding of self-consciousness and the bodily self. I am particularly interested in the relationship between self-awareness and social cognition (e.g. perspective taking, mentalization, Theory of Mind) in infancy, childhood and using clinical populations (e.g. stoke and traumatic brain injury). I draw on an integrative methodological approach, which incorporates neuropsychological testing, experimental and neuroimaging methods, to explore how neurocognitive abilities, neural mechanisms and the social environment work together for the development of self-awareness. 

Book Chapters

Besharati, S & Fotopoulou, A. (2019). The Social reality of the Self: Right Perisylvian Damage Revisited. In Salas, CE, Turnbull, OH, Solms, M. (Eds) Clinical Studies in Neuropsychoanalysis II. London, Karnac Books.

Besharati, S., Fotopolou, A. & Kopelman, M. (2019). What is it like to be confabulating? In Mishara, AL, Kranjec, A., Corlett, P., Fletcher, P. Schwartz, M.A. (Eds) Phenomenological Neuropsychiatry, How Patient Experience Bridges Clinic with Clinical Neuroscience. New York, Springer.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Draper CE, Tomaz SA, Cook CJ, Jugdav SS, Ramsammy C, Besharati, S., van Heerden A, Vilakazi K, Cockcroft K, Howard SJ, Okely AD. Understanding the influence of 24-hour movement behaviours on the health and development of preschool children from low-income South African settings: The SUNRISE pilot study. South African Journal of Sports Medicine. 2020;32(1):1-7.


Jenkinson, P. M., Papadaki, C., Besharati, S., Moro, V., Gobbetto, V., Crucianelli, L., ... & Fotopoulou, A. (2020). Welcoming back my arm: affective touch increases body ownership following right-hemisphere stroke. Brain communications, 2(1), fcaa034.

Kirsch, L. P., Besharati, S., Papadaki, C., Crucianelli, L., Bertagnoli, S., Ward, N., ... & Fotopoulou, A. (2020). Damage to the right insula disrupts the perception of affective touch. Elife, 9, e47895.


Martinaud, O., Besharati, S.*, Jenkinson, P. M., & Fotopoulopu, A. (2016) Owenership illusons in patients      with body delusions: different neural profiles of visual capture and disownership. Cortex, 87, 174-185.

*shared first author

Besharati, S., Forkel, S., Kopelman, M., Solms, M., Jenkinson, P. & Fotopoulou, A. (2016). Mentalizing the body: spatial and social cognition in anosognosia for hemiplegia, Brain, 139(3), 971-985.


Besharati, S., Kopelman, M., Renato, A., Moro, V., & Fotopoulou, A. (2015). Another perspective on Anosognosia: self-observation in video replay improves motor awareness. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 25, 319-352.


Besharati, S., Forkel, S., Kopelman, M., Solms, M., Jenkinson, P. & Fotopoulou, A. (2014). The Affective Modulation of Motor Awareness in Anosognosia for Hemiplegia: Behavioural and Lesion Evidence. Cortex, 61, 127-140.


Besharati, S., Crucianelli, L. & Fotopoulou, A. (2014). Restoring awareness: a review of rehabilitation in anosognosia for hemiplegia. The Chilean Journal of Neuropsychology, 9, 31-37.  


Besharati, S. & Foster, D. (2013). Understanding informal segregation. Diversities (formerly the International Journal on Multicultural Societies), 15.

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