Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
Skip to main content

The perception of internal bodily signals (interoception) is central to many theories of emotion and embodied cognition. According to recent theoretical views, the sensory processing of visceral signals such as one's own heartbeat is determined by top-down predictions about the expected interoceptive state of the body (interoceptive inference). In this EEG study we examined neural responses to heartbeats following expected and unexpected emotional stimuli. We used a modified stimulus repetition task in which pairs of facial expressions were presented with repeating or alternating emotional content, and we manipulated the emotional valence and the likelihood of stimulus repetition. We found that affective predictions of external socially relevant information modulated the heartbeat-evoked potential, a marker of cardiac interoception. Crucially, the HEP changes highly relied on the expected emotional content of the facial expression. Thus, expected negative faces led to a decreased HEP amplitude, whereas such an effect was not observed after an expected neutral face. These results suggest that valence-specific affective predictions, and their uniquely associated predicted bodily sensory state, can reduce or amplify cardiac interoceptive responses. In addition, the affective repetition effects were dependent on repetition probability, highlighting the influence of top-down exteroceptive predictions on interoception. Our results are in line with recent models of interoception supporting the idea that predicted bodily states influence sensory processing of salient external information.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/hbm.24352

Type

Journal article

Journal

Hum Brain Mapp

Publication Date

01/2019

Volume

40

Pages

20 - 33

Keywords

HEP, emotion, heartbeat-evoked potential, interoception, prediction