Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nat Neurosci. 2004 Feb;7(2):189-95. Epub 2004 Jan 18.

Neural systems supporting interoceptive awareness.

Author information

  • 1Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, University College London, and Autonomic Unit, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London Hospitals, UK. h.critchley@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Influential theories of human emotion argue that subjective feeling states involve representation of bodily responses elicited by emotional events. Within this framework, individual differences in intensity of emotional experience reflect variation in sensitivity to internal bodily responses. We measured regional brain activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an interoceptive task wherein subjects judged the timing of their own heartbeats. We observed enhanced activity in insula, somatomotor and cingulate cortices. In right anterior insular/opercular cortex, neural activity predicted subjects' accuracy in the heartbeat detection task. Furthermore, local gray matter volume in the same region correlated with both interoceptive accuracy and subjective ratings of visceral awareness. Indices of negative emotional experience correlated with interoceptive accuracy across subjects. These findings indicate that right anterior insula supports a representation of visceral responses accessible to awareness, providing a substrate for subjective feeling states.

Comment in

PMID:
14730305
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk