How does interoceptive awareness interact with the subjective experience of emotion? An fMRI Study
ABSTRACT 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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ABSTRACT: Although food and affective pictures share similar emotional and motivational characteristics, the relationship between the neuronal responses to these stimuli is unclear. Particularly, it is not known whether perceiving and imagining food and affective stimuli elicit similar event-related potential (ERP) patterns. In this study, two ERP correlates, the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP) for perceived and imagined emotional and food photographs were investigated. Thirteen healthy volunteers were exposed to a set of food photos, as well as unpleasant, pleasant, and neutral photos from the International Affective Picture System. In each trial, participants were first asked to view a photo (perception condition), and then to create a visual mental image of it and to rate its vividness (imagery condition). The results showed that during perception, brain regions corresponding to sensorimotor and parietal motivational (defensive and appetitive) systems were activated to different extents, producing a graded pattern of EPN and LPP responses specific to the photo content - more prominent for unpleasant than pleasant and food content. Also, an EPN signature occurred in both conditions for unpleasant content, suggesting that, compared to food or pleasant content, unpleasant content may be attended to more intensely during perception and may be represented more distinctly during imagery. Finally, compared to LLP activation during perception, as well as imagery and perception of all other content, LPP activation was significantly reduced during imagery of unpleasant photos, suggesting inhibition of unwanted memories. Results are framed within a neurocognitive working model of embodied emotions.Neuroscience Bulletin 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s12264-014-1520-6 · 1.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Adaptive emotional responses are important in interpersonal relationships. We investigated self-reported emotional experience, physiological reactivity, and micro-facial expressivity in relation to the social nature of stimuli in individuals with schizophrenia (SZ). Galvanic skin response (GSR) and facial electromyography (fEMG) were recorded in medicated outpatients with SZ and demographically matched healthy controls (CO) while they viewed social and non-social images from the International Affective Pictures System. Participants rated the valence and arousal, and selected a label for experienced emotions. Symptom severity in the SZ and psychometric schizotypy in CO were assessed. The two groups did not differ in their labeling of the emotions evoked by the stimuli, but individuals with SZ were more positive in their valence ratings. Although self-reported arousal was similar in both groups, mean GSR was greater in SZ, suggesting differential awareness, or calibration of internal states. Both groups reported social images to be more arousing than non-social images but their physiological responses to non-social vs. social images were different. Self-reported arousal to neutral social images was correlated with positive symptoms in SZ. Negative symptoms in SZ and disorganized schizotypy in CO were associated with reduced mean fEMG. Greater corrugator mean fEMG activity for positive images in SZ indicates valence-incongruent facial expressions. The patterns of emotional responses differed between the two groups. While both groups were in broad agreement in self-reported arousal and emotion labels, their mean GSR, and fEMG correlates of emotion diverged in relation to the social nature of the stimuli and clinical measures. Importantly, these results suggest disrupted self awareness of internal states in SZ and underscore the complexities of emotion processing in health and disease.Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00320 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We aim for this contribution to operate bi-directionally, both as a "bedside to bench" reverse-translational fractal physiological hypothesis and as a methodological innovation to inform clinical practice. In 25 years using gym equipment therapeutically in non-research settings, the standardized therapy is consistently observed to trigger universal responses of micro to macro waves of system transition dynamics in the human nervous system. These are associated with observably desirable impacts on disorders, injuries, diseases, and athletic performance. Requisite conditions are therapeutic coaching, erect posture, extremely slow movements in mild resistance exercises, and executive control over arousal and attention. To motivate research into the physiological improvements and in validation studies, we integrate from across disciplines to hypothesize explanations for the relationships among the methods, the system dynamics, and evident results. Key hypotheses include: (1) Correctly-directed system efforts may reverse a system's heretofore misdirected efforts, restoring healthier neurophysiology. (2) The enhanced information processing accompanying good posture is an essential initial condition. (3) Behaviors accompanying exercises performed with few degrees of freedom amplify information processing, triggering destabilization and transition dynamics. (4) Executive control over arousal and attention is essential to release system constraints, amplifying and complexifying information. (5) The dynamics create necessary and in many cases evidently sufficient conditions for the body to resolve or improve its own conditions within often short time periods. Literature indicates how the human system possesses material self-awareness. A broad explanation for the nature and effects of the therapy appears rooted in the cascading recursions of the systems' dynamics, which appear to trigger health-fostering self-reorganizing processes when this therapy provides catalytic initial conditions.Frontiers in Physiology 11/2013; 4:334. DOI:10.3389/fphys.2013.00334