Role of interoceptive accuracy in topographical changes in emotion-induced bodily sensations

PLoS One. 2017 Sep 6;12(9):e0183211. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183211. eCollection 2017.


The emotion-associated bodily sensation map is composed of a specific topographical distribution of bodily sensations to categorical emotions. The present study investigated whether or not interoceptive accuracy was associated with topographical changes in this map following emotion-induced bodily sensations. This study included 31 participants who observed short video clips containing emotional stimuli and then reported their sensations on the body map. Interoceptive accuracy was evaluated with a heartbeat detection task and the spatial patterns of bodily sensations to specific emotions, including anger, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, and neutral, were visualized using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) analyses. Distinct patterns of bodily sensations were identified for different emotional states. In addition, positive correlations were found between the magnitude of sensation in emotion-specific regions and interoceptive accuracy across individuals. A greater degree of interoceptive accuracy was associated with more specific topographical changes after emotional stimuli. These results suggest that the awareness of one's internal bodily states might play a crucial role as a required messenger of sensory information during the affective process.

MeSH terms

  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interoception / physiology*
  • Male
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (No. 2015R1D1A1A01058033) and the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (no. K15070). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.