Participants' above-chance recognition of own-heart sound combined with poor metacognitive awareness suggests implicit knowledge of own heart cardiodynamics

Ruben T Azevedo, Salvatore Maria Aglioti, Bigna Lenggenhager
Mounting evidence suggests that interoceptive signals are fundamentally important for the experience of the self. Thus far, studies on interoception have mainly focused on the ability to monitor the timing of ongoing heartbeats and on how these influence emotional and self-related processes. However, cardiac afferent signalling is not confined to heartbeat timing and several other cardiac parameters characterize cardiodynamic functioning. Building on the fact that each heart has its own
more » ... has its own self-specific cardio-dynamics, which cannot be expressed uniquely by heart rate, we devised a novel task to test whether people could recognize the sound of their own heart even when perceived offline and thus not in synchrony with ongoing heartbeats. In a forced-choice paradigm, participants discriminated between sounds of their own heartbeat (previously recorded with a Doppler device) versus another person's heart. Participants identified the sound of their own heart above chance, whereas their metacognition of performance -as calculated by contrasting performance against ratings of confidence -was considerably poorer. These results suggest an implicit access to fine-grained neural representations of elementary cardio-dynamic parameters beyond heartbeat timing.
doi:10.5167/uzh-139666 fatcat:kznc356y4nc7lgvvr5cnyv5kwy