Author: Sarah N Garfinkel1, Hugo D Critchley2
1 Division of Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RR, UK; Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Falmer Brighton, BN1 9RH, UK. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Division of Psychiatry, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RR, UK; Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Falmer Brighton, BN1 9RH, UK; Sussex Partnership National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, Sussex, UK.
Conference/Journal: Trends Cogn Sci
Date published: 2016 Jan 1
Other: Volume ID: 20 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 34-46 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.10.005. , Word Count: 134
Mental processes depend upon a dynamic integration of brain and body. Emotions encompass internal physiological changes which, through interoception (sensing bodily states), underpin emotional feelings, for example, cardiovascular arousal can intensify feelings of fear and anxiety. The brain is informed about how quickly and strongly the heart is beating by signals from arterial baroreceptors. These fire in bursts after each heartbeat, and are quiet between heartbeats. The processing of fear stimuli is selectively enhanced by these phasic signals, and these inhibit the processing of other types of stimuli including physical pain. Behavioural and neuroimaging studies detail this differential impact of heart signals on the processing of salient stimuli, and add to knowledge linking rhythmic activity in brain and body to perceptual consciousness.
Keywords: amygdala; baroreceptor; cardiac cycle; emotion; interoception; perception.
PMID: 26628111 DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.10.005