How does interoceptive awareness interact with the subjective experience of emotion? An fMRI Study

Centre for Advanced Research on Logic and Sensibility (CARLS), Keio University, Minato-ku, Kodaira-shi, Tokyo, Japan
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 5.97). 01/2011; 34(3). DOI: 10.1002/hbm.21458
Source: PubMed


Recent studies in cognitive neuroscience have suggested that the integration of information about the internal bodily state and the external environment is crucial for the experience of emotion. Extensive overlap between the neural mechanisms underlying the subjective emotion and those involved in interoception (perception of that which is arising from inside the body) has been identified. However, the mechanisms of interaction between the neural substrates of interoception and emotional experience remain unclear. We examined the common and distinct features of the neural activity underlying evaluation of emotional and bodily state using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The right anterior insular cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) were identified as commonly activated areas. As both of these areas are considered critical for interoceptive awareness, these results suggest that attending to the bodily state underlies awareness of one's emotional state. Uniquely activated areas involved in the evaluation of emotional state included the temporal pole, posterior and anterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal gyrus, and inferior frontal gyrus. Also the precuneus was functionally associated with activity of the right anterior insular cortex and VMPFC when evaluating emotional state. Our findings indicate that activation in these areas and the precuneus are functionally associated for accessing interoceptive information and underpinning subjective experience of the emotional state. Thus, awareness of one's own emotional state appears to involve the integration of interoceptive information with an interpretation of the current situation. Hum Brain Mapp, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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    • "The insula is critical to the integration of emotional and homeostatic information , and may be involved in translating interoceptive signals into conscious feelings ( Critchley et al . , 2005 ; Critchley et al . , 2004 ; Naqvi and Bechara , 2009 ; Terasawa et al . , 2013a ) . For example , the magnitude of insula activation while participants evaluated their own emotional and bodily states was found to be associated with social anxiety and neuroticism ( Terasawa et al . , 2013b ) . Insula activation has also been associated with self - report measures of anxiety ( Stein et al . , 2007 ) and anticipation "
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    • "Several studies suggest that we refer to our own bodily state when evaluating our emotional state and that the areas mentioned above serve as common ground (Dunn et al., 2010; Gu et al., 2013b; Pollatos et al., 2005a). Different models propose that the subjective experience of emotion arises from the integration of interoceptive stimuli and external environmental stimuli in the aIC (Craig, 2009; Critchley, 2009; Gu et al., 2013a; Kurth et al., 2010; Terasawa et al., 2013a). Present results support the blending of interoception and emotion and highlight the role of internal cardiac triggers in the rapid encoding of emotional salience. "
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    • "ich perhaps hints at altered awareness or calibra - tion of internal states ; they seem to require greater levels of arousal than the healthy participants to reach the same conscious decision . Emotional awareness may depend on integrating sensorimo - tor and interoceptive information with an interpretation of the external situation in real time ( Terasawa et al . , 2013 ) . The role of bodily sensations and interoceptive awareness in emotion experi - ence is unclear but interoception and somatosensory processing are compromised in the SZ - spectrum ( Peled et al . , 2003 ; Chang and Lenzenweger , 2005 ; Linnman et al . , 2013 ) and may con - tribute to alexithymia ( Van ' t Wout et al . , 2007 ; Aaron "
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