Accuracy of heartbeat perception is reflected in the amplitude of the heartbeat-evoked brain potential

Psychophysiology. 2004 May;41(3):476-82. doi: 10.1111/1469-8986.2004.00170.x.


Neurotransmission from the heart to the brain results in a heartbeat-evoked potential (HEP). In this study, the influence of the ability to detect one's heartbeats based on the HEP was examined. According to their results in a heartbeat perception task, subjects were classified as good (n=18) or poor (n=26) heartbeat perceivers. EEG, EOG, and ECG were recorded while participants attended to their heartbeats. The R-wave of the ECG served as a trigger for EEG averaging. In the latency range of 250-350 ms after the ECG R-wave, the HEP amplitude at the right central location was significantly higher in good heartbeat perceivers. A significantly positive correlation was observed between the heartbeat perception score and the mean HEP amplitude. Our results confirm that the accuracy of heartbeat perception is reflected in the amplitude of the HEP. Thus, the HEP may be a suitable research tool for the study of brain processes related to visceral perception.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male