How do you feel? Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Aug;3(8):655-66. doi: 10.1038/nrn894.


As humans, we perceive feelings from our bodies that relate our state of well-being, our energy and stress levels, our mood and disposition. How do we have these feelings? What neural processes do they represent? Recent functional anatomical work has detailed an afferent neural system in primates and in humans that represents all aspects of the physiological condition of the physical body. This system constitutes a representation of 'the material me', and might provide a foundation for subjective feelings, emotion and self-awareness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / cytology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Consciousness / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Nociceptors / cytology
  • Nociceptors / physiology*
  • Pain / pathology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Thermosensing / physiology
  • Touch / physiology
  • Visceral Afferents / cytology
  • Visceral Afferents / physiology*