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Rebecca Brewer, Jennifer McBride; The relationship between one's own interoceptive abilities and recognition of others' non-emotional internal state. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):936. doi: 10.1167/18.10.936.
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Much research has investigated the ability to recognise others' emotions (happiness, fear, anger, etc.) and previous work suggests that the ability to recognise an emotional state in another individual is strongly related to the ability to recognise one's own emotions. No previous work has addressed the ability to recognise non-emotional internal states in others (e.g. temperature, nausea, satiety, fatigue) due to the non-existence of stimulus sets with which to assess this ability. Many individuals with psychological disorders (including Eating Disorders) struggle to perceive their own non-emotional internal states (interoception), making it likely that they would also struggle to recognise these internal states in others. The current study used purposely-developed stimuli depicting actors posing non-emotional internal states (satiety, pain, nausea, cold, fatigue, itch, and breathlessness) in a visual recognition task, in order to assess the ability to recognise others' internal states. 30 typical control participants, and 15 participants with a diagnosis of an eating disorder, took part in a recognition task in which stimulus images were obscured by high frequency visual noise, the level of which was adjusted using an adaptive staircase procedure based on performance. Participants also completed measures of their own interoceptive ability (recognising non-emotional internal states in the self). Results indicated that the ability to recognise one's own non-emotional internal states predicted the ability to recognise others' non-emotional internal states. Recognition ability was not related to eating disorder presence or severity, suggesting that difficulties recognising others' internal states are only present in those with eating disorders when the individual also struggles to recognise their own internal states. These results extend the recent findings suggesting that emotion recognition difficulties in psychological disorders are predicted by the understanding of one's own emotions; seemingly, the same logic applies to the recognition of non-emotional internal states.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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