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7 Dissociating dimensions of interoception in neuropsychiatry
  1. Sarah Garfinkel


Sarah Garfinkel is Professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London (UCL), where she leads the Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Group. She completed her PhD at the University of Sussex, a training fellowship in Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan and her first faculty position at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Her research focuses on brain-body interactions in different clinical conditions. In 2018, Sarah was named by the journal Nature as one of 11 ‘Rising Star’ researchers and in 2021 she was awarded the Mid-Career Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience by the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience.

Abstract Cognitive and emotional processes are shaped by the dynamic integration of brain and body. A major channel of interoceptive information comes from the heart, where phasic signals are conveyed to the brain to indicate how fast and strong the heart is beating. This talk will detail how cardiac afferent signals can interact with neuronal mechanisms to alter emotion processing. This interoceptive channel is disrupted in distinct ways in neuropsychiatric conditions; specific interoceptive disturbances may contribute to our understanding of symptoms in these clinical conditions, including changes in emotion, dissociation and anxiety. The discrete cardiac effects on emotion and cognition have broad relevance for clinical neuroscience, with implications for peripheral treatment targets and behavioural interventions focused on the heart.

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