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Poster F20

Interoceptive attention and heartbeat detection: Highly aware but confused?

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Chantal Trudel1 (, Joshua R. C. Budge1, Kelly Monk1, Prof. James Danckert1; 1University of Waterloo

Previous brain imaging work in our lab has shown that boredom down-regulates the insular cortex, a key region related to interoceptive processing. These physiological sensations provide information on the changing body states such as the feeling of butterflies in one’s stomach. To probe for a link between boredom and interoception, we collected a large adult sample (N=350, Mage=38, SD=11) of self-reported interoceptive abilities. We found two novel and particularly intriguing strong positive correlations between boredom proneness (i.e., trait boredom) and i) self-awareness, and ii) interoceptive confusion. These findings suggested that boredom prone individuals attend inordinately to their internal states but struggle to make sense of what they perceive. The present work collected experimental data on interoceptive accuracy and boredom using a heartbeat detection task. Preliminary analysis of our sample (n=103) replicated both boredom proneness relationships with self-awareness and interoceptive confusion. Moreover, preliminary analysis of the heart rate counting task revealed a positive correlation between interoceptive confusion and higher error rates on the heartbeat detection task. This preliminary finding suggests that participants who report being confused by their bodily signals do fail to perceive a high number of heartbeats. We anticipate that this failure of interoceptive attention for the highly boredom prone will arise despite self-reported higher awareness of bodily signals.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Other


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April 13–16  |  2024