It's True: We Have a Sixth Sense!

Interoception is the process by which the nervous system senses, interprets, and integrates signals originating from within the body, providing a moment-by-moment mapping of the body’s internal landscape across conscious and unconscious levels.” - Khalsa et al., 2018

This course will explore how you know yourself, how you know how well you know yourself, and what you can do to improve your interoceptive sensitivity.

Urinary Urgency

High interoceptive sensitivity: Brain knows bladder is filling up when 60% full

Low interoceptive sensitivity: Brain learns bladder is filling up when 97% full

Orthostatic Hypotension

High interoceptive sensitivity:

Body senses weakness and instability; responds by going slow and finding a source of stability

Low interoceptive sensitivity:

Brain doesn't get the early, mild symptoms of low blood pressure, pass out before they get signal

Mood Disorders

Among individuals with PD, those with lower interoceptive sensitivity had higher levels of depression, apathy, and lack of pleasure.

Far-Reaching Implications

Interoception involves the perception of internal bodily sensations, many of which are regulated by the autonomic nervous system.

The integration of interoceptive signals by the brain, especially in regions like the insula, is crucial for maintaining bodily homeostasis and adapting to changing internal and external conditions.

Vagus nerve is 80% input and 20% output; these signals contribute to the overall sense of the body's internal state.