Home> Archive> 2023> Volume 13 Number 5 ( Oct. 2023)
IJSSH 2023 Vol.13(5): 304-314
doi: 10.18178/ijssh.2023.V13.1163

Understanding Interoception and Its Importance in Body and Mind Functions: A Review

Yihong Mu

Abstract—Interoception, the sensing of the body’s internal sensations, contributes to numerous aspects of human’s cognitive and affective abilities. Interoception mechanisms ensure physiological health through the coordination of homeostatic reflexes and allostatic responses. This review presents how deeply interoception controls our daily motivational behaviors and associated affective and emotional feelings. Since its discovery at the twilight of the 19th century, relentless research and experimental work have pushed far back the borders of interoception. Concept enrichment is still to find its limits: from its role in balancing and maintaining the energy-efficiency of the integrity and health of the body (homeostasis) to its emotional importance in learning, motivation and decision making, the field of interoception doesn't stop extending. Scientific measuring of interoceptive effects is also making fulgurant progress, though accuracy and relation between self-awareness and interoceptive attention are still to be fine-tuned. In addition, the review also addresses impairment caused by interoceptive deficiencies (alexithymia), commenting research and group experiments made in physical, emotional and physiological fields. Open questions are raised about whether interoception is a unitary function as well as about the ways to reduce individual weak interoceptive abilities, such as training and meditation. In conclusion, the signaling, sensing, and detection of bodily states are implicated in physical and mental well-being. Interoception research contributes to understanding into the dynamic interactions between body, brain, and mind.

Index Terms—Interoception, homeostasis, interoceptive accuracy/attention, alexithymia

Yihong Mu is with Kundao Group (Beijing) Consulting Co., Ltd., China E-mail: yihong_mu@163.com (Y.M.)


Cite: Yihong Mu, "Understanding Interoception and Its Importance in Body and Mind Functions: A Review," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 304-314, 2023.

Copyright © 2023 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).


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