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Interoceptive differences in elite sprint and long-distance runners: A multidimensional investigation

Thomas Seabury, David Benton, Hayley Young

PLOS ONE, Volume: 18, Issue: 1, Start page: e0278067

Swansea University Authors: Thomas Seabury, David Benton, Hayley Young

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Abstract

Interoception, the process of detecting and interpreting bodily sensations, may facilitate self-regulation and thereby play a crucial role in achieving elite performance in competitive sports. However, there is a lack of research conducted in world-class athletes. In the present research, two studie...

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Published in: PLOS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Published: Public Library of Science (PLoS) 2023
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa62897
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Abstract: Interoception, the process of detecting and interpreting bodily sensations, may facilitate self-regulation and thereby play a crucial role in achieving elite performance in competitive sports. However, there is a lack of research conducted in world-class athletes. In the present research, two studies examined self-reported (interoceptive sensibility) and behavioural (interoceptive accuracy) interoception in elite (top 100 ranking) sprint and long-distance runners, and non-athletes. Study 1 used the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness Questionnaire. Sprinters reported having better regulation of attention to internal sensations, greater emotional awareness, better self-regulation, and reported a greater propensity to listen to their body for insight, than distance runners. Compared to non-athletes, sprinters and distance runners had more bodily trust, attention regulation, and self-regualtion. Additionally, elite athletes reported lower emotional awareness, self-regulation, and body listening. Study 2 examined cardioception using two tasks: The Heartbeat Counting Task, and The Heartbeat Detection Task. Elite and non-elite runners performed the tasks under two conditions; in silence, and whilst listening to pre-recorded crowd noise that simulated the live sounds of spectators during a sporting event. Sprinters and distance runners were able to maintain heartbeat detection accuracy when distracted, whereas non-athletes could not. Across both tasks, compared to non-athletes, sprinters and distance runners were more confident than non-athletes in their interoceptive percept. Additionally, elite athletes compared to non-elite athletes were less accurate when counting their heartbeat and were characterised by a higher interoceptive prediction error. Athletic populations have altered interoceptive abilities.
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Funders: The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.
Issue: 1
Start Page: e0278067