Neural Sources and Underlying Mechanisms of Neural Responses to Heartbeats, and their Role in Bodily Self-consciousness: An Intracranial EEG Study

Hyeong Dong Park, Fosco Bernasconi, Roy Salomon, Catherine Tallon-Baudry, Laurent Spinelli, Margitta Seeck, Karl Schaller, Olaf Blanke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent research has shown that heartbeat-evoked potentials (HEPs), brain activity in response to heartbeats, are a useful neural measure for investigating the functional role of brain-body interactions in cognitive processes including self-consciousness. In 2 experiments, using intracranial electroencephalography (EEG), we investigated (1) the neural sources of HEPs, (2) the underlying mechanisms for HEP generation, and (3) the functional role of HEPs in bodily self-consciousness. In Experiment-1, we found that shortly after the heartbeat onset, phase distributions across single trials were significantly concentrated in 10% of the recording sites, mainly in the insula and the operculum, but also in other regions including the amygdala and fronto-temporal cortex. Such phase concentration was not accompanied by increased spectral power, and did not correlate with spectral power changes, suggesting that a phase resetting, rather than an additive "evoked potential"mechanism, underlies HEP generation. In Experiment-2, we further aimed to anatomically refine previous scalp EEG data that linked HEPs with bodily self-consciousness. We found that HEP modulations in the insula reflected an experimentally induced altered sense of self-identification. Collectively, these results provide novel and solid electrophysiological evidence on the neural sources and underlying mechanisms of HEPs, and their functional role in self-consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2351-2364
Number of pages14
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume28
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

Keywords

  • bodily self-consciousness
  • heartbeat-evoked potentials
  • insula
  • intertrial coherence
  • intracranial EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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