The Emerging Science of Interoception: Sensing, Integrating, Interpreting, and Regulating Signals within the Self

Trends Neurosci. 2021 Jan;44(1):3-16. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2020.10.007.


Interoception refers to the representation of the internal states of an organism, and includes the processes by which it senses, interprets, integrates, and regulates signals from within itself. This review presents a unified research framework and attempts to offer definitions for key terms to describe the processes involved in interoception. We elaborate on these definitions through illustrative research findings, and provide brief overviews of central aspects of interoception, including the anatomy and function of neural and non-neural pathways, diseases and disorders, manipulations and interventions, and predictive modeling. We conclude with discussions about major research gaps and challenges.

Keywords: autonomic; insula; parasympathetic; spinal; sympathetic; vagal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interoception*