Knowing Your Own Heart: Distinguishing Interoceptive Accuracy From Interoceptive Awareness

Biol Psychol. 2015 Jan;104:65-74. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.11.004. Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Abstract

Interoception refers to the sensing of internal bodily changes. Interoception interacts with cognition and emotion, making measurement of individual differences in interoceptive ability broadly relevant to neuropsychology. However, inconsistency in how interoception is defined and quantified led to a three-dimensional model. Here, we provide empirical support for dissociation between dimensions of: (1) interoceptive accuracy (performance on objective behavioural tests of heartbeat detection), (2) interoceptive sensibility (self-evaluated assessment of subjective interoception, gauged using interviews/questionnaires) and (3) interoceptive awareness (metacognitive awareness of interoceptive accuracy, e.g. confidence-accuracy correspondence). In a normative sample (N=80), all three dimensions were distinct and dissociable. Interoceptive accuracy was only partly predicted by interoceptive awareness and interoceptive sensibility. Significant correspondence between dimensions emerged only within the sub-group of individuals with greatest interoceptive accuracy. These findings set the context for defining how the relative balance of accuracy, sensibility and awareness dimensions explain cognitive, emotional and clinical associations of interoceptive ability.

Keywords: Anxiety; Emotion; Interoception; Metacognition; Perception; Predictive coding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interoception / physiology*
  • Male
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult