Thursday, July 5, 2012

Symposium 2 Talk 1: Critchley

Thursday, July 5 2012 11:00-13:00 @ Dome Theatre

Symposium 2: "Bringing the in-depth body to the surface: interoception, awareness and prediction"
Talk 1: "Visceral afferent signaling, interoceptive awareness and predictive coding: Impact on emotional processes"

Hugo Critchley (Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, Department of Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK)


The experience of emotions as subjective feeling states arguably reflects the cognitive appraisal of information about changes in bodily state in conjunction with the inferences about the causes of those changes, consistent with a predictive coding framework. Moreover, individual differences in physiological responsivity influence the experience of emotions and people can be categorized according to their accuracy in judging physiological processes including heartbeats. Studies of good and bad 'heartbeat detectors' confirm a relationship between enhanced interoceptive ability and intensity of emotional experiences. Mechanistically, central signalling of cardiovascular arousal occurs via the activation of baroreceptors at cardiac systole that signals the occurrence and amplitude of individual heartbeats. We have shown this interoceptive stream differentially influences automatic processing and intentional evaluation of emotional stimuli including facial expressions. Nevertheless, cognitive and physiological dimensions of interoception can be dissociated experimentally, endorsing a model of interoceptive predictive coding which we have recently developed.

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