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.