Peripheral bodily processes are conveyed to the brain via several mechanisms promoting psychological and behavioral adaptations. Besides humoral pathways, the impact of neural projections originating from receptors located within the cardiovascular system is currently debated. Accumulating evidence indicates that cardiac activity influences central-nervous processes mediating perception, cognition and emotion. This symposium will cover recent neuroscientific research into such heart-brain interactions ranging from basic perception to psychopathology. Michael Gaebler (Leipzig) will present evidence for a modality-specific cardiac phase bias indicating that increased cardioafferent traffic during systole inhibits somatosensory perception while promoting active visual sampling. Mauro Larra (Dortmund) will present behavioral and EEG studies showing that cardiac activity modulates sensorimotor and cognitive processes underlying stimulus-response-compatibility. Although central-nervous effects of phasic variations in cardioafferent traffic can be revealed by analyzing EEG data time-locked to heartbeats, electrical fields propagated from the heart pose a challenge and Stefan Arnau (Dortmund) will discuss methodological approaches to deal with the cardiac field artifact. Conscious and unconscious perception of heartbeats may also contribute to self-related cognitions and emotions. Aleksandra Herman (Warsaw) will identify neural correlates of heart-focused and tactile-focused attention in a study applying fMRI and a novel heartbeat-detection task. André Schulz (Luxemburg) will focus on psychopathological consequences related to the perception of cardioafferent signals and present new results on heart-beat-evoked potentials and interoception in somatic symptoms. Together, these contributions elucidate how cardioafferent signals influence brain activity as well as the way we feel, perceive and interact with our environment.

Zeitfenster der Veranstaltung (1)

Attention and perception

Chair(s): Mauro Larrá (Dortmund)

Presenter(s): Michael Gaebler (Leipzig), Mauro Larrá (Dortmund), Stefan Arnau (Dortmund), Aleksandra Herman (Nencki Institute), André Schulz (Luxembourg, Luxembourg)