Neurobehavioral evidence of interoceptive sensitivity in early infancy

Elife. 2017 Aug 8;6:e25318. doi: 10.7554/eLife.25318.


Interoception, the sensitivity to visceral sensations, plays an important role in homeostasis and guiding motivated behaviour. It is also considered to be fundamental to self-awareness. Despite its importance, the developmental origins of interoceptive sensitivity remain unexplored. We here provide the first evidence for implicit, flexible interoceptive sensitivity in 5 month old infants using a novel behavioural measure, coupled with an established cortical index of interoceptive processing. These findings have important implications for the understanding of the early developmental stages of self-awareness, self-regulation and socio-emotional abilities.

Keywords: cognitive development; emotion processing; heartbeat evoked potential; human; interoception; neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavior*
  • Child Development*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interoception*
  • Male