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Individual differences in sensory and expectation driven interoceptive processes: a novel paradigm with implications for alexithymia, disordered eating and obesity

Hayley Young, Chantelle Gaylor, Danielle De Kerchove, David Benton

Scientific Reports, Volume: 11, Issue: 1

Swansea University Authors: Hayley Young, Chantelle Gaylor, Danielle De Kerchove, David Benton

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Abstract

Those with disordered eating and/or obesity often express difficulties in sensing or interpreting what is happening in the body (interoception). However, research is hindered by conceptual confusion, concerns surrounding domain specificity, and an inability to distinguish sensory (bottom-up) and exp...

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Published in: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
Published: Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa56937
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Abstract: Those with disordered eating and/or obesity often express difficulties in sensing or interpreting what is happening in the body (interoception). However, research is hindered by conceptual confusion, concerns surrounding domain specificity, and an inability to distinguish sensory (bottom-up) and expectation driven (top-down) interoceptive processes. A paradigm was therefore developed from an active inference perspective. Novel indices were computed and examined in those with alexithymia: a personality associated with interoceptive deficits and disordered eating. The paradigm successfully identified individuals driven by sensations rather than expectations: alexithymia was characterized by attenuated prior precision (a larger divergence between pre-prandial and post-prandial satiety, and low expectation confidence), and increased prediction error (a higher correlation between changes in hunger and blood glucose, and greater rebound hunger after a sensory incongruent drink). In addition, those with a higher BMI were less confident and had a larger anticipated satiety divergence. These findings demonstrate the need to move beyond existing paradigms such as the Satiety Quotient and Heartbeat Counting Task which may have limited our understanding of eating behaviour.
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Issue: 1