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.