Poster D19, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Effects of interoceptive attention on emotional responses
Kamryn Taub1, Sean Fannon1; 1Folsom Lake College
Influential theories of emotion posit that feedback from the body plays a key role in emotional experience. Consistent with this view, individual variation in awareness of interoceptive signals (those originating within the body) is associated with trait measures of emotionality, and functional imaging implicates common brain regions supporting both interoception and emotion perception. Attending to one’s heartbeat has been shown to increase the the amplitude of heartbeat-evoked brain potentials, demonstrating that selective attention can boost the central representation of interoceptive signals. Taken together, these observations suggest that biasing attention toward interoceptive signals should enhance emotional responses, however, this has not yet been directly tested. We directed subjects’ attention either to interoceptive signals (their own heartbeat) or exteroceptive signals (auditory tones) and assessed the effects on physiological and self-report measures of their emotional response to affective pictures. We failed to uncover any influence of interoceptive attention on emotional responding. The results suggest that increased awareness of bodily state does not directly influence emotional state. Trait interoceptive awareness and emotionality may instead be correlated due to shared association with other psychological traits.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions