Looking into myself: Changes in interoceptive sensitivity during mirror self-observation

Vivien Ainley*, Ana Tajadura-Jiménez, Aikaterini Fotopoulou, Manos Tsakiris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


Interoceptive sensitivity is an essential component of recent models of "the self." Increased focus on the self (e.g., self-observation in a mirror) can enhance aspects of self-processing. We examined whether self-observation also enhances interoceptive sensitivity. Participants performed a heartbeat detection task while looking at their own face in a mirror or at a black screen. There was significant improvement in interoceptive sensitivity in the mirror condition for those participants with lower interoceptive sensitivity at baseline. This effect was independent of the order of conditions, gender, age, body mass index, habitual exercise, and changes in heart rate. Our results suggest that self-observation may represent a viable way of manipulating individuals' interoceptive sensitivity, in order to directly test causal relations between interoceptive sensitivity and exteroceptive self-processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1672-1676
Number of pages5
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


  • Heartbeat detection
  • Individual differences
  • Interoception
  • Mirror self-observation


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