Interoception as a function of hypnotizability during rest and a heartbeat counting task

The hypnotizability-related differences in morpho-functional characteristics of the insula could at least partially account for the differences in interoceptive accuracy (IA) observed between high and low hypnotizable individuals (highs, lows). Our aim was to investigate interoceptive processing in highs, lows, and medium hypnotizable individuals (mediums), who represent most of the population, during a 10-minute open eyes relaxation condition (Part 1) and three repetitions of consecutive 2-minute open eyes, closed eyes, and heartbeat counting conditions, followed by a 2-minute post-counting condition (Part 2). Electrocardiogram and electroencephalogram were recorded in 14 highs, 14 mediums, and 18 lows, classified according to the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form A. Heartbeat-evoked cortical potentials (HEP) were extracted throughout the entire session, and IA index was obtained for the heartbeat counting task (HCT). In Part 1, significant hypnotizability-related differences were observed in the right central region in both early and late HEP components, with lows showing positive amplitudes and highs/mediums showing negative amplitudes. In Part 2, the same group differences were limited to the early component. Moreover, in the left frontal regions, only mediums modified their HEP during the counting task with respect to the open/closed eyes conditions, whereas highs displayed HEP differences between counting and post-counting rest. HCT did not show significant group differences. In conclusion, highs and mediums seem to be more similar than mediums and lows regarding HEP, despite the absence of significant differences in HCT. Nonetheless, a negative correlation between hypnotizability scores and HEP amplitudes was observed in the regions showing group differences.

Giusti, G.,  Zelič, Ž.,  Callara, A. L.,  Sebastiani, L., &  Santarcangelo, E. L. (2024).  Interoception as a function of hypnotizability during rest and a heartbeat counting task. Psychophysiology,  00, e14535. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.14535

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