Author: Matias Baltazar1, Julie Grezes2, Marie-Maude Geoffray1,3, Jean-Luc Picq4, Laurence Conty4
1 Centre d'Evaluation et de Diagnostic de l'Autisme (CEDA) - Centre Hospitalier Le Vinatier, Bron Cedex, France.
2 Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience Laboratory, INSERM unit 960, Ecole Normale Supérieure, PSL University, Paris, France.
3 Health Services and Performance Research EA7425, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University (CBL1), Lyon, France.
4 Laboratory of Cognitive Functioning and Dysfunctioning (DysCo), Univ. Paris Nanterre, Nanterre, France.
Conference/Journal: Eur J Neurosci
Date published: 2021 Oct 29
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1111/ejn.15510. , Word Count: 250

Interoceptive Accuracy (IAc), the precision with which one assesses the signals arising from one's own body, is receiving increasing attention in the literature. IAc has mainly been approached as an individual trait and has been investigated through the cardiac modality using mostly non ecological methods. Such studies consensually designate the anterior insular cortex as the main brain correlate of IAc. However, there is a lack of brain imaging studies investigating IAc in a broader and more ecological way. Here, we used a novel ecological task in which participants monitored their general bodily reactions to external events and investigated brain regions subtending intra-individual (i.e. trial-by-trial) variations of IAc. At each trial, participants had to rate the intensity of their bodily reactions to an emotional picture. We recorded participants' skin conductance response (SCR) to the picture as an indicator of actual physiological response intensity. We fitted an fMRI model using, as regressors, the SCR value, the rating, and the product of the two (as a proxy of participants' IAc) obtained trial per trial. We observed that activity in the dorsomedial pre-frontal cortex (dmPFC) increased when individuals' IAc decreased. This result reveals general mechanisms of error processing in intra-individual variations of IAc, which are unspecific to interoception. Our result has a practical impact in the clinical domain. Namely, it supports the predictive coding framework whereby IAc deficits may reflect impairments in processing a mismatch between actual interoceptive signals and predictions.

Keywords: emotion; fMRI; interoception; medial prefrontal cortex; skin conductance.

PMID: 34716630 DOI: 10.1111/ejn.15510