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Focus of attention modulates the heartbeat evoked potential


Petzschner, Frederike H; Weber, Lilian A; Wellstein, Katharina V; Paolini, Gina; Do, Cao Tri; Stephan, Klaas E (2019). Focus of attention modulates the heartbeat evoked potential. NeuroImage, 186:595-606.

Abstract

Theoretical frameworks such as predictive coding suggest that the perception of the body and world – interoception and exteroception – involve intertwined processes of inference, learning, and prediction. In this framework, attention is thought to gate the influence of sensory information on perception. In contrast to exteroception, there is limited evidence for purely attentional effects on interoception. Here, we empirically tested if attentional focus modulates cortical processing of single heartbeats, using a newly-developed experimental paradigm to probe purely attentional differences between exteroceptive and interoceptive conditions in the heartbeat evoked potential (HEP) using EEG recordings. We found that the HEP is significantly higher during interoceptive compared to exteroceptive attention, in a time window of 524–620 ms after the R-peak. Furthermore, this effect predicted self-report measures of autonomic system reactivity. Our study thus provides direct evidence that the HEP is modulated by pure attention and suggests that this effect may provide a clinically relevant readout for assessing interoception.

Abstract

Theoretical frameworks such as predictive coding suggest that the perception of the body and world – interoception and exteroception – involve intertwined processes of inference, learning, and prediction. In this framework, attention is thought to gate the influence of sensory information on perception. In contrast to exteroception, there is limited evidence for purely attentional effects on interoception. Here, we empirically tested if attentional focus modulates cortical processing of single heartbeats, using a newly-developed experimental paradigm to probe purely attentional differences between exteroceptive and interoceptive conditions in the heartbeat evoked potential (HEP) using EEG recordings. We found that the HEP is significantly higher during interoceptive compared to exteroceptive attention, in a time window of 524–620 ms after the R-peak. Furthermore, this effect predicted self-report measures of autonomic system reactivity. Our study thus provides direct evidence that the HEP is modulated by pure attention and suggests that this effect may provide a clinically relevant readout for assessing interoception.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurology
Language:English
Date:1 February 2019
Deposited On:14 Mar 2019 16:47
Last Modified:16 Apr 2019 07:27
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.11.037
PubMed ID:30472370

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