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Herbert, Beate Maria (2006): Kardiosensibilität, Emotionsverarbeitung und Verhalten: Die Bedeutung der Herzwahrnehmung für zentralnervöse Emotionsverarbeitungsprozesse und Verhaltensregulation. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
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Abstract

This work "cardiosensitivity, emotion processing and behavior" is concerned with the relevance of interoceptive sensitivity (heartbeat perception) for emotion processing and behavioral control. The first part of the monograph elaborately outlines theoretical models underscoring the importance of somatic markers and bodily signals for feelings, emotion, decision making and behavior (e.g. W. James, Schachter & Singer, A. Damasio). Ongoing insights of emotion research and neuroanatomic fundamentals of emotion processing and visceroception are illustrated based on current neuroscientific results. In the second part of the work these models and findings provide a basis for the examination of the relationship between interoceptive sensitivity (cardiosensitivity) and a) emotion processing using paradigms of EEG research (event related potentials), analyzing both the higher-order processing (late potentials: P300, Slow Wave) and the rapid, early processing (Early Posterior Negativity: EPN) of emotional and neutral, visual stimuli, and b) behavioral control of mental, emotional and physical stress, analyzing behavioral (free viewing time, physical effort) and physiological variables (impedance cardiography, EKG). The results of the studies demonstrated that interoceptive sensitivity is remarkably positively related to the intensity of both higher-order processing of emotional, visual stimuli and early, visual processing of rapidly presented emotional pictures at temporo-occipital brain regions. Behavioral and physiological data from the behavioral studies showed that persons with good interoceptive sensitivity (good heartbeat perceivers) demonstrate a more subtle and cautious behavioral self-control of mental, emotional as well as physical stress than persons with poor interoceptive sensitivity (poor heartbeat perceivers). The findings are discussed within the context of the described models by James and Damasio as well as topical findings from neuroscientific emotion research. Finally, the results are integrated within a detailed survey on future research on interoception.