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Interoception and embodiment in patients with bilateral vestibulopathy

Abstract : There are tight functional and anatomical links between the vestibular and interoceptive systems, and both systems have shown to fundamentally underlie emotional processes and our sense of a bodily self. Yet, nothing is known about how long-term bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP) influences interoception and its relation to embodiment and the sense of self. We thus compared cardiac interoceptive accuracy, confidence in the performance, and general body awareness in 25 BVP patients and healthy controls using a heartbeat tracking task, self-reports about interoceptive awareness, as well as measures of self-localization and of self-body closeness. Resultsshowed no difference between patients and controls regarding interoceptive accuracy, confidence and body awareness, suggesting that long-term BVP does not influence cardiac interoception. Patients and controls did not differ either regarding self-location and self-body closeness. However, in our overall sample of patients and controls, we found thatinteroceptive accuracy increased with perceived self-body closeness, suggesting that anchoring the self to the body is generally linked with better cardiac interoception. This result is in line with previous suggestions of an important contribution of interoception to the sense of embodiment.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 5:40:36 PM
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Estelle Nakul, Charles Dabard, Michel Toupet, Charlotte Hautefort, Christian van Nechel, et al.. Interoception and embodiment in patients with bilateral vestibulopathy. Journal of Neurology, Springer Verlag, 2020, ⟨10.1007/s00415-020-10221-x⟩. ⟨hal-02988481⟩

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