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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jan 2022 - 28 Jan 2022


2022 Jan 22

Biol Psychol

Interoception visualization relieves acute pain.


Gong W, Gu L, Wang W, Chen L
Biol Psychol. 2022 Jan 22:108276.
PMID: 35077847.


Interoception is the sensation of the physiological state inside one's body. Growing evidence suggests that visual feedback of interoception improves body self-consciousness (BSC) and reduces pain perception among patients with chronic pain. However, whether the integration of exteroception and interoception influences pain processing in healthy individuals remains largely unknown. To examine this question, we combined the rubber hand illusion (RHI) paradigm with visualized interoception -flashing of an LED light on the rubber hand synchronously or asynchronously with participants' real-time heartbeats. Under these conditions, we tested pain thresholds and corresponding event-related potentials. The interoceptive visual feedback inhibited the P2 component of pain, and the RHI inhibited pre-stimulus alpha-band brain activity. BSC had no significant effect on the processing of pain. These findings demonstrate that interoceptive signals with visual feedback inhibit pain processing, and that this psychophysiological process is largely independent of reported self-consciousness, in healthy individuals.