Interactions between interoception and perspective-taking: Current state of research and future directions

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2021 Nov;130:252-262. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.08.007. Epub 2021 Aug 13.


Interoception, the sense of the physiological state of the body, and perspective-taking, the ability to take another's point of view, are two fundamental components contributing to our perception and interaction with the external world. However, whether the perception of our inner body influences how we perceive the external world and other people remains poorly understood. Here, we review recent behavioural and neuroimaging evidence investigating the links between dimensions of interoception (i.e., accuracy, sensibility and awareness) and perspective-taking (i.e., affective, cognitive and visual). So far, only a limited subset of these dimensions has been investigated together and the results suggest that interoceptive abilities may only interact with perspective-taking when embodied mental transformations are required. Furthermore, mainly the emotional aspects of perspective-taking are related to interoception, influencing the ability to empathise with others. Future research should systematically investigate the links between all dimensions of interoception and perspective-taking to provide full understanding of the specific role interoception has on how we perceive the world and take another's point of view.

Keywords: Affective perspective-taking; Cognitive perspective-taking; Empathy; Interoception; Interoceptive accuracy; Interoceptive awareness; Interoceptive sensibility; Theory of mind; Visuo-spatial perspective-taking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Awareness
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Interoception*