Journal of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Medical Science) ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (5): 660-666.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-8115.2022.05.015

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Progress of interoception based on heartbeat perception

LIANG Yuxuan1(), LI Chunbo1,2()   

  1. 1.Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200030, China
    2.Institute of Psychology and Behavioral Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Brain Science and Technology Research Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology (CEBSIT), Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai 200030, China
  • Received:2022-01-06 Accepted:2022-05-06 Online:2022-05-28 Published:2022-05-28
  • Contact: LI Chunbo;
  • Supported by:
    National Key R&D Program of China(2018YFC2001605);Clinical Research Center of Shanghai Mental Health Center(19MC1911100)


In some early classical emotional theories, psychologist JAMES has proposed that emotions are the perception of physiological changes in the body, i.e., physiological changes (such as rapid heartbeat) occur before emotions such as fear and tension. Later, researchers defined the human body's ability to perceive internal physiological signals (such as heartbeat, breathing and gastrointestinal peristalsis) as interoception, in which behavioral evaluation of heartbeat perception has received extensive attention. At present, it is generally accepted that interoception can be measured in three dimensions, i.e., accuracy, sensitivity and awareness. Several studies have shown that interoception is highly correlated with the intensity of emotional experience, and the changes in interoception can also be observed in the clinical groups suffering from anxiety disorder, depression disorder, schizophrenia and other mental disorders. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and other techniques, the researchers has found that the insula may be the center of interoception, which overlaps with the active brain regions of emotional experience, providing the neuroanatomical evidence for the emotional theory. Recently, more and more studies focus on the field of interoception, but the published domestic reviews mostly concentrated on psychology without connection with clinical practice. Therefore, this paper comprehensively reviews the interoceptive dimensions, measurement methods, research techniques and clinical researches based on heartbeat perception, and prospects the research directions of interoception.

Key words: interoception, heartbeat perception, interoceptive accuracy, interoceptive sensitivity, insular, mental disorder

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