My heart is in my hands: The interoceptive nature of the spontaneous sensations felt on the hands
2015
Physiol Behav
143:113-120
Authors: 
Michael GA
Navateur J
Dupuy MA
Jacquot L

Somatic sensations may arise in the total absence of external stimuli, i.e., spontaneous sensations (SPSs). Because the background of body sensations has been mentioned as a possible contributor to interoceptive functions, such as the perception of the self and the conscious awareness of one's own body, a possible link between SPSs and interoception has been advocated. Yet, no study has provided direct evidence on such a relationship. The aim of the present study was to establish a link between SPSs and interoception. On the basis of the literature, the accuracy of heartbeat perception was taken as an index of general interoception across different bodily modalities. It was found that individuals with good heartbeat perception experienced more numerous and more intense SPSs. Furthermore, taken along with other individual characteristics, heartbeat perception accuracy predicted the perceived intensity of SPSs, their spatial extent, their variety, as,well as confidence in their spatial characteristics. However, we also provide evidence that good vs. poor heartbeat perception is not just a matter of degree. We conclude that interoception definitely contributes to the perception of SPSs. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.