Heartbeat perception in social anxiety before and during speech anticipation

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy,Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Otto-Behaghel-Strasse 10F, Giessen, Germany.
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 02/2011; 49(2):138-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.11.009
Source: PubMed


According to current cognitive models of social phobia, individuals with social anxiety create a distorted image of themselves in social situations, relying, at least partially, on interoceptive cues. We investigated differences in heartbeat perception as a proxy of interoception in 48 individuals high and low in social anxiety at baseline and while anticipating a public speech. Results revealed lower error scores for high fearful participants both at baseline and during speech anticipation. Speech anticipation improved heartbeat perception in both groups only marginally. Eight of nine accurate perceivers as determined using a criterion of maximum difference between actual and counted beats were high socially anxious. Higher interoceptive accuracy might increase the risk of misinterpreting physical symptoms as visible signs of anxiety which then trigger negative evaluation by others. Treatment should take into account that in socially anxious individuals perceived physical arousal is likely to be accurate rather than false alarm.

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    • "Interoceptive accuracy as estimated by Schandry - based heartbeat tracking tasks typically increase under acute stress . While this effect has been observed in anticipation of ( Durlik et al . , 2014 ) and after a public speaking test ( Schandry and Specht , 1981 ) , one study only found a marginal increase in IA during anticipation ( Stevens et al . , 2011 ) . The importance of the amplitude of cardiovascular responsiveness during stress for the enhancement of IA is underlined by the positive correlation between IA and responsiveness in heart rate , pre - ejection period and the Heather index in a mental arithmetic task ( Herbert et al . , 2010 ) . A similar association between cardiovasc"
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    ABSTRACT: Afferent neural signals are continuously transmitted from visceral organs to the brain. Interoception refers to the processing of visceral-afferent neural signals by the central nervous system, which can finally result in the conscious perception of bodily processes. Interoception can, therefore, be described as a prominent example of information processing on the ascending branch of the brain-body axis. Stress responses involve a complex neuro-behavioral cascade, which is elicited when the organism is confronted with a potentially harmful stimulus. As this stress cascade comprises a range of neural and endocrine pathways, stress can be conceptualized as a communication process on the descending branch of the brain-body axis. Interoception and stress are, therefore, associated via the bi-directional transmission of information on the brain-body axis. It could be argued that excessive and/or enduring activation (e.g., by acute or chronic stress) of neural circuits, which are responsible for successful communication on the brain-body axis, induces malfunction and dysregulation of these information processes. As a consequence, interoceptive signal processing may be altered, resulting in physical symptoms contributing to the development and/or maintenance of body-related mental disorders, which are associated with stress. In the current paper, we summarize findings on psychobiological processes underlying acute and chronic stress and their interaction with interoception. While focusing on the role of the physiological stress axes (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis and autonomic nervous system), psychological factors in acute and chronic stress are also discussed. We propose a positive feedback model involving stress (in particular early life or chronic stress, as well as major adverse events), the dysregulation of physiological stress axes, altered perception of bodily sensations, and the generation of physical symptoms, which may in turn facilitate stress.
    Frontiers in Psychology 08/2015; 6:993. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00993 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "These include (a) alteration of the neural substrates for interoception (e.g., by stress hormones, proinflammatory cytokines); (b), the loss of social and other exteroceptive cues ordinarily used to disambiguate somatic signals; and (c) shifts in attention, due to cognitive tendencies like rumination. Although particular forms of ID are certainly transdiagnostic—anxiety and panic, for example, involve heightened interoceptive sensitivity (e.g., Domschke, Stevens, Pfleiderer, & Gerlach, 2010; Stevens et al., 2011) and ID is thought to play a role in a number of other disorders, including autism and schizophrenia (e.g., Uddin & Menon, 2009; Wylie & Tregellas, 2010)— depression may involve any or all of these pathways. The review is divided into five sections. "
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    • "Thus, drinking may be internally driven by a need to cope with depressive feelings in HOP individuals, and by urgency to relieve negativity in IMP individuals. In AS youth, who may be prone to social anxiety (Stevens et al., 2011), negative reinforcement drinking seemingly stems from external motivations (i.e., drinking to fit in). AS has previously been linked with alcohol problems (i.e., difficulties stopping drinking; Stewart et al., 2011) in youth receiving child welfare services. "
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    ABSTRACT: Specific personality dimensions may increase susceptibility to alcohol misuse by encouraging motives for drinking that are associated with risky alcohol use. In the current study, we examined associations between personality risk factors (hopelessness (HOP), anxiety sensitivity (AS), sensation seeking (SS), and impulsivity (IMP)) and drinking motives (coping, conformity, enhancement, and social motives) in a sample of high-risk youth receiving child protection services. These personality factors were assessed using the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS) and drinking motives were assessed using the Drinking Motives Questionnaire-Revised (DMQ-R). The structural validity of the DMQ-R was first explored in this novel sample of high-risk adolescents using principal components analysis. Correlational analyses showed that HOP and IMP were associated with drinking to cope with negative emotions, and AS was associated with drinking to conform. Unexpectedly, enhancement motives were not related to any of the personality dimensions. This suggests that youth receiving child welfare services who are high in the described personality risk factors drink primarily for negative reinforcement.
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