Sensing internal bodily signals, or interoception, is fundamental to maintain life. However, interoception should not be viewed as an isolated domain, as it interacts with exteroception, cognition and action to ensure the integrity of the organism. Focusing on cardiac, respiratory and gastric rhythms, we review evidence that interoception is anatomically and functionally intertwined with the processing of signals from the external environment. Interactions arise at all stages, from the peripheral transduction of interoceptive signals to sensory processing and cortical integration, in a network that extends beyond core interoceptive regions. Interoceptive rhythms contribute to functions ranging from perceptual detection up to sense of self, or conversely compete with external inputs. Renewed interest in interoception revives long-standing issues on how the brain integrates and coordinates information in distributed regions, by means of oscillatory synchrony, predictive coding or multisensory integration. Considering interoception and exteroception in the same framework paves the way for biological modes of information processing specific to living organisms.
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