The body in the mind: on the relationship between interoception and embodiment

Top Cogn Sci. 2012 Oct;4(4):692-704. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2012.01189.x. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


The processing, representation, and perception of bodily signals (interoception) plays an important role for human behavior. Theories of embodied cognition hold that higher cognitive processes operate on perceptual symbols and that concept use involves reactivations of the sensory-motor states that occur during experience with the world. Similarly, activation of interoceptive representations and meta-representations of bodily signals supporting interoceptive awareness are profoundly associated with emotional experience and cognitive functions. This article gives an overview over present findings and models on interoception and mechanisms of embodiment and highlights its relevance for disorders that are suggested to represent a translation deficit of bodily states into subjective feelings and self-awareness.

MeSH terms

  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Psychophysiology
  • Self Concept
  • Time Perception / physiology