Psychological Correlates of Interoceptive Perception in Healthy Population
Investigating awareness of internal state of the body (i.e. interoception) is a promising field in the neuroscience domain. Evidence indicated interoceptive alterations in a wide variety of conditions. However, among literature, there is a consistent lack of information regarding the psychological correlates of interoceptive awareness (IA) in healthy population.
Methods: 54 subjects performed a complete interoceptive assessment for accuracy (IAc), metacognitive awareness (IAw), and sensibility (IAs) measured through M.A.I.A questionnaire. Subjects also performed psychological assessment for depression (BDI), anxiety (BAI), state and trait anxiety (STAI), and eating disorders (EDI-3) risks. Results: IAc and IAw positively correlated across the whole sample and IAw strongly positively correlated with several MAIA subscales. Significant negative correlations were also found with state anxiety and depressive symptoms. Female subjects exhibited a different interoceptive pattern with a negative relationship between IAc and BMI, and IAw and state anxiety. Conversely, male subjects exhibited a positive relationship between IAw and BMI, and IAc and Age, while IAw showed a negative relationship with state anxiety and depression. Conclusions: Perception of internal state of the body and relative metacognitive awareness appeared only partially connected. Different interoceptive patterns between male and female subjects appeared primarily related to specific body perceptions rather than gender differences. Considering the relationship between interoception and wellbeing, knowledge regarding how interoceptive processes work could help develop tailored technological interventions that utilize interoceptive treatments and multisensory stimulation to enhance human well-been through technology.
KeywordsInteroception Interoceptive awareness Emotions Interoceptive technology Interoceptive stimulation Interoceptive treatments
GR was funded by the MIUR PRIN research project ‘‘Unlocking the memory of the body: Virtual Reality in Anorexia Nervosa’’ (201597WTTM).
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