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Just a heartbeat away from one's body: interoceptive sensitivity predicts malleability of body-representations.

Tsakiris, M; Tajadura-Jiménez, A; Costantini, M; (2011) Just a heartbeat away from one's body: interoceptive sensitivity predicts malleability of body-representations. Proc Biol Sci , 278 (1717) 2470 - 2476. 10.1098/rspb.2010.2547.

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Abstract

Body-awareness relies on the representation of both interoceptive and exteroceptive percepts coming from one's body. However, the exact relationship and possible interaction of interoceptive and exteroceptive systems for body-awareness remain unknown. We sought to understand for the first time, to our knowledge, the interaction between interoceptive and exteroceptive awareness of the body. First, we measured interoceptive awareness with an established heartbeat monitoring task. We, then, used a multi-sensory-induced manipulation of body-ownership (e.g. Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI)) and we quantified the extent to which participants experienced ownership over a foreign body-part using behavioural, physiological and introspective measures. The results suggest that interoceptive sensitivity predicts the malleability of body representations, that is, people with low interoceptive sensitivity experienced a stronger illusion of ownership in the RHI. Importantly, this effect was not simply owing to a poor proprioceptive representation or differences in autonomic states of one's body prior to the multi-sensory stimulation, suggesting that interoceptive awareness modulates the online integration of multi-sensory body-percepts.

Type:Article
Title:Just a heartbeat away from one's body: interoceptive sensitivity predicts malleability of body-representations.
Location:England
DOI:10.1098/rspb.2010.2547
Language:English
Additional information:PMCID: PMC3125630
Keywords:Awareness, Body Image, Female, Humans, Illusions, Visual Perception, Young Adult
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > UCL Interaction Centre

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