This work was supported by a donation from the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation. AKS is also supported by EU Project CEEDS FP7-ICT-2009-05, 258749, and an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Leadership Fellowship EP/G007543/1, which also supports the work of ABB. Many thanks to Dr. Ayana Gibbs who provided advice on EAB design and Ewan Leith who assisted with stimulus selection.
What the heart forgets: Cardiac timing influences memory for words and is modulated by metacognition and interoceptive sensitivity
Article first published online: 21 MAR 2013
Copyright © 2013 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 50, Issue 6, pages 505–512, June 2013
How to Cite
Garfinkel, S. N., Barrett, A. B., Minati, L., Dolan, R. J., Seth, A. K. and Critchley, H. D. (2013), What the heart forgets: Cardiac timing influences memory for words and is modulated by metacognition and interoceptive sensitivity. Psychophysiology, 50: 505–512. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12039
- Issue published online: 10 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 21 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 AUG 2012
- Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation
- EU Project CEEDS FP7-ICT-2009-05. Grant Number: 258749
Mental functions are influenced by states of physiological arousal. Afferent neural activity from arterial baroreceptors at systole conveys the strength and timing of individual heartbeats to the brain. We presented words under limited attentional resources time-locked to different phases of the cardiac cycle, to test a hypothesis that natural baroreceptor stimulation influences detection and subsequent memory of words. We show memory for words presented around systole was decreased relative to words at diastole. The deleterious memory effect of systole was greater for words detected with low confidence and amplified in individuals with low interoceptive sensitivity, as indexed using a heartbeat counting task. Our observations highlight an important cardiovascular channel through which autonomic arousal impacts a cognitive function, an effect mitigated by metacognition (perceptual confidence) and interoceptive sensitivity.