Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Interoception, the perception of one's internal state, is commonly quantified using the heartbeat counting task (HCT) - which is thought to be a measure of cardiac interoceptive sensitivity (accuracy). Interoceptive sensitivity has been associated with a number of clinical traits and aspects of higher order cognition, including emotion processing and decision-making. It has been proposed that alexithymia (difficulties identifying and describing one's own emotions) is associated with impaired interoceptive sensitivity, but new research questions this association. Problematically, much evidence attesting to the absence of this association has been conducted using the HCT, a measure affected by various physiological and psychological factors. Here, we present novel data (N = 287) examining the relationship between alexithymia and HCT performance, controlling for a number of potential confounds. Inclusion of these control measures reveals the predicted negative relationship between alexithymia and HCT performance. Results are discussed with regard to difficulties quantifying interoceptive sensitivity using the HCT.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.biopsycho.2018.05.010

Type

Journal article

Journal

Biol psychol

Publication Date

24/05/2018

Keywords

alexithymia, heartbeat counting, interoception, interoceptive accuracy, interoceptive sensitivity