Humans' ability to represent their body state from within through interoception has been proposed to predict different aspects of human cognition and behaviour. We focused on the possible contribution of interoceptive sensitivity to social behaviour as mediated by adaptive modulation of autonomic response. We, thus, investigated whether interoceptive sensitivity to one's heartbeat predicts participants' autonomic response at different social distances. We measured respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) during either a Social or a Non-social task. In the Social task each participant viewed an experimenter performing a caress-like movement at different distances from their hand. In the Non-social task a metal stick was moved at the same distances from the participant's hand. We found a positive association between interoceptive sensitivity and autonomic response only for the social setting. Moreover, only good heartbeat perceivers showed higher autonomic response 1) in the social compared to the non-social setting, 2) specifically, when the experimenter's hand was moving at boundary of their peripersonal space (20 cm from the participant's hand). Our findings suggest that interoceptive sensitivity might contribute to interindividual differences concerning social attitudes and interpersonal space representation via recruitment of different adaptive autonomic response strategies.

Closing the gap between the inside and the outside: interoceptive sensitivity and social distances

Ferri F.
;
2013-01-01

Abstract

Humans' ability to represent their body state from within through interoception has been proposed to predict different aspects of human cognition and behaviour. We focused on the possible contribution of interoceptive sensitivity to social behaviour as mediated by adaptive modulation of autonomic response. We, thus, investigated whether interoceptive sensitivity to one's heartbeat predicts participants' autonomic response at different social distances. We measured respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) during either a Social or a Non-social task. In the Social task each participant viewed an experimenter performing a caress-like movement at different distances from their hand. In the Non-social task a metal stick was moved at the same distances from the participant's hand. We found a positive association between interoceptive sensitivity and autonomic response only for the social setting. Moreover, only good heartbeat perceivers showed higher autonomic response 1) in the social compared to the non-social setting, 2) specifically, when the experimenter's hand was moving at boundary of their peripersonal space (20 cm from the participant's hand). Our findings suggest that interoceptive sensitivity might contribute to interindividual differences concerning social attitudes and interpersonal space representation via recruitment of different adaptive autonomic response strategies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/767670
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