Jutta Ernst and Georg Northoff contributed equally to the manuscript.
Interoceptive awareness enhances neural activity during empathy
Article first published online: 22 FEB 2012
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Human Brain Mapping
Volume 34, Issue 7, pages 1615–1624, July 2013
How to Cite
Ernst, J., Northoff, G., Böker, H., Seifritz, E. and Grimm, S. (2013), Interoceptive awareness enhances neural activity during empathy. Hum. Brain Mapp., 34: 1615–1624. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22014
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 22 FEB 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 NOV 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 3 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Received: 20 AUG 2011
- Hope of Depression Research Foundation (HDRF)
- The EJLB Michael Smith Foundation and CRC Canada Research Chair
- Eli Lilly (Suisse)
- interoceptive awareness
Empathy is a multicomponent function that includes sensorimotor, affective, and cognitive components. Although especially the affective component may implicate interoception and interoceptive awareness, the impact of interoception on empathy has never been evaluated behaviorally or neurophysiologically. Here, we tested how a preceding period of interoceptive awareness impacts and modulates neural activity during subsequent empathy. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and measured the sequential interaction between interoception and empathy using fMRI in 18 healthy subjects. We found that the preceding interoceptive awareness period significantly enhanced neural activity during empathy in bilateral anterior insula and various cortical midline regions. The enhancement of neural activity during empathy in both interoceptive and empathy networks by preceding interoceptive awareness suggests a close relationship between interoception and empathy; thereby, interoception seems to be implicated to yielding empathy. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.