Impact of cardiac interoception cues and confidence on voluntary decisions to make or withhold action in an intentional inhibition task.
Rae CL., Ahmad A., Larsson DEO., Silva M., Praag CDGV., Garfinkel SN., Critchley HD.
Interoceptive signals concerning the internal physiological state of the body influence motivational feelings and action decisions. Cardiovascular arousal may facilitate inhibition to mitigate risks of impulsive actions. Baroreceptor discharge at ventricular systole underpins afferent signalling of cardiovascular arousal. In a modified Go/NoGo task, decisions to make or withhold actions on 'Choose' trials were not influenced by cardiac phase, nor individual differences in heart rate variability. However, cardiac interoceptive awareness and insight predicted how frequently participants chose to act, and their speed of action: Participants with better awareness and insight tended to withhold actions and respond slower, while those with poorer awareness and insight tended to execute actions and respond faster. Moreover, self-reported trait urgency correlated negatively with intentional inhibition rates. These findings suggest that lower insight into bodily signals is linked to urges to move the body, putatively by engendering noisier sensory input into motor decision processes eliciting reactive behaviour.